Judegment Day At The High Court London

Judegment Day At The High Court London
Mengi v Hermitage: Libel Claim Successfully Defended

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Daily News | Treat farming as big business

Daily News Treat farming as big business

By Daily News Reporter, 6th May 2010

Investment, investment, investment – this is what African agriculture urgently needs. Treat it like a business. This was the simple but strong message coming from the conference centre at the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam today.

The message was delivered by an array of African talent, presidents and development experts who between them are responsible for feeding one billion people on the continent. It said simply this: A new vision, new skills, new policies and most important more investment were urgently needed if the continent was going to eradicate hunger and famine. President Jakaya Kikwete, on the same platform as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, IFAD President Mr Kenayo Nwanze, said massive investment in agriculture was the key to securing Africa’s future. “Centres of training and of research were vital,” said the president, because it was through these that farmers would learn how to cope with challenges like climate change.” And IFAD president Mr Nwanze said “Agriculture is a business. And as with any business you have to invest to get a return.”

A long-term vision was what was wanted, said Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. “This should be national and regional and should span between 25 and 50 years and this would treat agriculture as a focal point,” he told the plenary session. “Governments in Africa must transform from donor-driven budgets to investment based budgets,” he added. “There has to be parallel investments in agro industries so that they add value to the farmers who are producing.” During the session titled ‘A New Vision for Africa’s Agriculture’, President Kikwete also commented on the increasing part played by science and technology in the sector. “We need to create more opportunities so that we can learn more about the weather and what it will do and this needs people with the right skills. We need more agricultural officers and extension workers too.”

Mr Zenawi said that the small scale farmer was all important and that he was the base of any agricultural transformation. President Kikwete said they looked forward to scaling up the chunk of the agricultural budget from the current 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent. But a delegate made the point from the floor that “ten per cent was not enough because most of the money comes from donors who dictate how it should be spent and out of that total more than three quarters is spent on current activities and not development. Mr Nwanze said that with 60 per cent of Africans being below 30 years old, governments should start making the sector attractive to young people.

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