Experts meet on Africa's agric investment plans - A special meeting of the Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Agriculture and Local Government in Africa, Development Working Group Leaders on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and National Agriculture Investment Plans ( NAIPs), began here Tuesday, according to a press statement from the African Union Commission (AUC).
The participants will discuss, among other things, progress and challenges made in the implementation of National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs); lessons from efforts to coordinate and align donor assistance to the specific components of NAIPs; and review the 2014 areas of focus and work streams/thematic areas being proposed to sustain momentum and sharpen focus on implementation efforts.
They will also discuss how to accelerate the impact of NAIPs and investments on poverty and hunger reduction.
Opening the meeting, the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, AtoTefera Derbew, called on African leaders to place agricultural transformation at the top of their agendas, saying that without a successful agricultural transformation, it would be difficult to sustain agricultural growth.
'Agriculture transformation should still be high on the agenda and efforts should be exerted to include production and productivity to provide livelihood, raise incomes and create jobs and wealth,' he said.
Derbew also commended the AU for declaring 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security, noting that the meeting would be an opportunity to review past CAADP implementation challenges and afford stakeholders the chance to identify what works and to chart the way forward for the next decade.
Also speaking at the opening session, AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, applauded AU Member States for driving the CAADP agenda in their countries, thereby demonstrating ownership and leadership.
She said to date, 40 African Countries had signed the CAADP compacts, many of which have credible National Investment Plans under implementation.
Tumusiime noted that it was now more important than ever, not only to sustain the momentum of raising agricultural growth, but also to put in place a robust system of social protection that productively integrates vulnerable social groups to the growth agenda.
'Since our focus is on implementation for results and impact, we will emphasize on key instruments to help us achieve this objective and we will largely focus on monitoring and reporting progress in line with jointly agreed commitments and targets as well as mutual accountability,' she said.
In his remarks, the Chair of the development partners' task team and Programme Manager of the European Union Delegation to the African Union, Mr. Eulogio Montijano, stated that there was the need to support a sustainable and inclusive agriculture as a key engine of growth, jobs, poverty reduction and food security.
He said it was for that reason that the decision by the African Union to declare 2014 the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security was supported by development partners as it would give agricultural policies a renewed thrust for the next decade.