Wednesday, October 12, 2011
REGIONAL PARLIAMENTARIANS DIALOGUE ON AGRICULTURE
5-7 October 2011. A three-day regional parliamentary dialogue on investments in agricultural value chains in Africa was held in Abuja, Nigeria.
The meeting, dubbed 2011 “Regional Parliamentary Dialogue: Enhancing Competitiveness through increased investments in Agriculture Value Chains in Africa” is been attended by legislators from the regional parliaments and national assemblies, government officials, researchers and agricultural scientists. The landmark dialogue organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is a first of its kind in the continent bringing together agricultural technocrats and legislators to a roundtable. It follows the first Annual Dialogue of Ministers of Agriculture, Science and Technology held in April 2011 in Accra, Ghana.
In the official address, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, noted the need for closer co-operation between parliamentarians and technocrats in the agricultural sector to spur innovation, development and stability of agricultural growth in the Africa.
“We can sit and formulate policies, but the main drivers of the policies are parliamentarians. It is thus highly important to dialogue with parliamentarians so that implementation of what is agreed upon becomes easy”, the Minister noted, in a speech read on his behalf by Prof. Yusuf Abubarkar, a member of the Board of FARA.
The Minister appreciated the gains realized in enhancing competitiveness of agricultural value chains. “Food security and agricultural development is necessary with the developed countries today creating partnerships with Africa for the betterment of agricultural economies. At the same time, stronger strategic alliances with emerging powerful economies such as China, Japan and Brazil should be encouraged”, Dr. Adesina noted.
The Executive Director of FARA, Prof Monty Jones maintained that his organisation would continue to enhance value addition in policy, information knowledge and technology and encourage strategic alliances to benefit the continent and the attainment of economies of scale in economic production.
The private sector was urged to work closely with other stakeholders to enhance agriculture and boost the investments. At the moment, investment in the agriculture sector is barely 2% according to the FARA Executive Director as compared to 60% in the developed countries. Other important factors noted as vital for food production to reach the optimum level in the continent to reduce hunger include access to land, infrastructure, and improved variety of seeds.