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20.04.2012 Africa

Africa can feed itself:” Global agriculture experts outline a path to food security and rural development

By Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
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NAIROBI – As global leaders prepare to discuss food security and agriculture at the Rio+20, G8 and G20 Summits, two of the world's leading experts on food security and rural development hosted a panel discussion outlining the practical solutions necessary for Africa to feed its growing population.

Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development at Imperial College London, and Dr. Namanga Ngongi, former President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) issued an African point of view on the continent's food security challenge as donor governments prepare to evaluate progress on billions of dollars committed to global food security and sustainable development.

“Global leaders and African governments must act,” said AGRA's Dr. Ngongi. “We must continue to put pressure on them to develop policies and technology that support smallholder farmers.”

The discussion reviewed recommendations from the recently released report by the Montpellier Panel entitled, “Growth with Resilience: Opportunities in African Agriculture,” which recommended the following necessary steps that governments and the private sector must take to ensure long-term food security across the continent:

· Cooperate to reduce food price volatility, drive private investments and build corridor projects to boost productivity of smallholder farmers

· Work with NGOs to ensure greater crop yields, combat land and water degradation and build climate-smart agriculture

· Partner with NGOs and civil society to scale up nutrition, focus on rural women and youth and build diverse livelihoods

The panel focused on leveraging successes across the African continent and the importance of forming new partnerships to ensure smallholder farmers overcome hunger and poverty and help feed Africa's expanding population.

“It is a fact that agricultural productivity has gone up in a number of countries,” said Dr. James Nyoro, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation's Africa Office. “What we need to do is identify those bright areas and follow their lead and replicate those efforts across the continent.”

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