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26.11.2007 General News

African Farmers To Get Support

Water Management Initiative to enable small-scale farmers in Africa produce the maximum yield from the least available water supply and provide low cost and efficient water management systems would be launched in 2008.
This would also help farmers move from a human powered treadle pumps to solar powered irrigation.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra, Dr Namanga Ngongi, the President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an Africa led partnership into agriculture said the rainfall pattern had changed, becoming erratic and irrigation was the least used in Africa for farming.
'We need to find other alternative means to assist our farmers get the best results they require even in the dry season', he said and dubbed the system:'crop for each drop'.
He said challenges confronting small-scale farmers
in Africa mostly of whom are women, start in the field stretching across the entire agricultural value chain.
He noted that the simple water management systems that allowed farmers to deal with erratic rains were largely out of reach and needed such facility to solve the problem of the small-scale farmers.
AGRA, chaired by Mr Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and had just opened an office in Accra
to serve the West African countries aimed at engaging African organisation of farmers, agro-dealers, scientists, private sector firms, national leaders and institutions to address challenges faced in agriculture by small-scale farmers.
Founded by Rockefeller Foundation and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006, it endorses the framework set out by NEPAD's Comprehensive Africa Development Programme agreed upon by African leaders aimed at a sustained six per cent annual growth in agricultural production by 2015.
The AGRA President called for the expansion of irrigation facilities and adaptation a long-term irrigation plan to help solve agricultural problems facing African small-scale farmers to improve the life of African small-scale farmers.
He noted that in Ghana, AGRA had been in contact with over 10 institutions who are into agriculture, including the University of Ghana and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as well as other farmer-based organisations whom they will be collaborating with in achieving their goal of building a prosperous agricultural system, that will generate significant opportunities for Africa's small-scale farmers and spur rapid rural economic growth.
Dr Ngongi gave the assurance that AGRA will advocate for policies that will support small-scale farmers, promote rural development and help address
trade tariffs.