Former Ethiopia PM urges Africa’s leaders to prioritize agriculture in accelerating food security, poverty eradication
NAIROBI, Kenya: June 28 June 2021 – Former Ethiopia Prime Minister and Board Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) , H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, has called on African leaders to prioritize investment in agriculture for food and nutrition security, and strengthened economies.
H.E Dessalegn was speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, during a week-long tour where he met with the country’s president, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, for high-level discussions on the future of Africa’s agricultural and food systems.
His visit came ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit in September, where the world’s leaders will evaluate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2 the eradication of hunger from the continent.
The AGRA delegation, that included the organization’s President, Dr Agnes Kalibata briefed President Uhuru Kenyatta on preparation for the AGRF 2021 Summit to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in September. The team hailed the decision, with H.E. Dessalegn stating: “On behalf of AGRA and the AGRF partners, we are delighted to be holding our Forum in Kenya where great strides have been made towards SDG 2 to eradicate hunger and increase nutrition and food security”.
The platform of 26 AGRF Partners is responsible for organising the world’s premier forum for advancing Africa’s agricultural agenda. Every year, the AGRF Secretariat gathers thousands of delegates including political leaders, agripreneurs, scientists, the media and thought leaders in a four-day forum to discuss innovative ways to fast-track an agricultural transformation in Africa. This is the second time that the event is taking place in Kenya, after a successful edition in 2016.
H.E Dessalegn noted that agriculture is critical to ending poverty and hunger by 2030, and called on leaders to act urgently in driving the required change.
During his tour, H.E. Dessalegn visited Kiambu, a farming county bordering the capital, Nairobi, where he met with Village Based Advisors (VBAs) –farmers recruited and trained by AGRA to offer extension support to other farmers in their communities.
The VBAs accompanied him on a farm visit to showcase the impact of their work in the development of their region’s food systems.
H.E. Dessalegn also hosted the country’s private sector leaders in a dialogue to discuss their key role in the recovery and sustainability of food systems following the devastation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his presentation, he appealed for the active engagement of private sector players in developing strong systems that will fast-track the journey to an agricultural transformation.
“The private sector plays a key role in investing to support framers access the right yield enhancing technologies, finance, markets, post-harvest technologies, irrigation, and mechanization services,” he said.
H.E. Dessalegn reminded the private sector players of the opportunities at the AGRF, notably the Deal Room, where important partnerships are struck every year for the benefit of Africa’s farmers.
“Those seeking investors will be able to share their investment needs with over 50 global investors with an interest in African agriculture. Over the past three years more than 300 African companies have shared investment needs in excess of USD 1.4 billion,” he said.
Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we catalyze and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation to increase incomes and improve food security for 30 million farming households in 11 African countries by 2021.
The AGRF is the premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward. The Forum is designed to energize political will and advance the policies, programs and investments required to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the continent.