ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – “The voice of farmers need to be heard to leapfrog agricultural transformation in Africa,” says Director of Programme at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, (NEPAD) Agency Mrs Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong.
Speaking at a consultation Forum with farmers’ organisations in Addis Ababa, on the side-lines of an Agriculture Ministers meeting, Mrs Fotabong said that NEPAD values the relationship and engagement with farmers and wants to ensure that there is space for them to contribute to policy making.
The meeting brought together, representatives from Civil Society Organisations as well as the Pan African and Regional Farmers Organisation (PAFO and RFOs) to ensure that farmers drive and are at the centre of Africa’s transformation agenda.
President of PAFO, Mr Bagna Djibo, said that despite the progress made in agricultural development in the next 10 years, there was need for inclusive and coherent governance so that stakeholders can participate in the formulation of policies.
NEPAD’s engagement with farmers and other stakeholders is through CAADP, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme. It is an African-led plan to stimulate agricultural development by raising agricultural productivity. The Programme has in the last decade promoted policymakers to engage with an array of stakeholders such as farmers and producers to optimise growth, triggering wider impact stemming from sound agricultural policies.
Mary Afan, representative of the Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) lamented the absence of base facilities. “I want to own land and improved seedling; I want access to credit facilities. But no support is forthcoming from government. What are the support systems available to me?” she asked.
Martin Bwalya, Head of CAADP at NEPAD said that the Programme is just as valid today as it was in 2003 when it was established, and that smallholder farmers are an engine for economic transformation ought to be supported to enable them become a source of wealth.
The Forum agreed that policy makers should take into account the challenges faced by small scale farmers, when making important decision on agriculture. Issues raised by farmers will be included in the final document of the Agriculture Ministers meeting on May 1.
African Union Commission (AUC)