KIGALI, RWANDA – Dr Margaret Nantongo Zziwa has asked the legislators to develop relevant laws to attract more investors in the agricultural sector to in the region to spur its development.
“We should also adopt a comprehensive implementation programme of the EAC Food Security Action Plan and the adoption of common measures to ensure sustainable management of soil and land resources in the region,” she said at the two day inter-Parliamentary workshop held recently in Kigali, Rwanda.
The workshop held under the theme ‘Making Agricultural Investment work for Africa: A Parliamentarian Response to the Land Rush’ was organised by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) together with the Association for European Parliamentarians with Africa and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
EALA spokesman Bobi Odiko said that the workshop was aimed at raising awareness among Parliamentarians on the current scale and impact of foreign direct investments in East Africa, land and water and to strengthen land policy and governance.
In attendance are Parliamentarians from PAP, EALA, ECOWAS and the Parliament of Rwanda and the Parliament of South Africa respectively.
The Speaker noted that while agriculture contributes for close to 80% of income of the continent, its contribution to the GDP of the economies remained disproportionately smaller owing to a number of challenges.
She cited poor governance, under capitalisation and under mechanisation of agriculture, inadequate research and development as some of the challenges.
“There is little doubt that FDIs in agriculture hold the key to Africa’s food security and enhanced exports, sustainable farming and appropriate technologies and skills. But a win-win situation is necessary and we have a fundamental role to play, the Speaker remarked.
President of the Pan-African Parliament Judith Kantengwa remarked that it was vital for the region to implement the Maputo Protocol which advocates for 10% of the national budgets to agricultural development
“According to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Africa needs $250bn of investment to develop infrastructure in rural areas between 2002 and 2015, yet only few countries are able to comply with the Maputo Declaration”, the legislator remarked.
She called for implementation of a regulatory framework on the access to an equitable benefit sharing that includes clear, legally binding and enforceable obligations on investors as well as the need for an AU Resolution on land grabbing as a policy.
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