Accra May 4, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor would on Thursday, May 5, and Friday, May 6 host the Heads of State of Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Uganda and Mali and some representatives from the G8 on the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The conference is in line with the vision for agriculture development aimed at enhancing food supply and reducing hunger. Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, announced at a press briefing in Accra.
He said the conference would focus on the implementation of the laid down policies that would help boost agriculture in Ghana and the West Africa Sub-Region as a whole.
"Within the overall vision of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development), the vision for agriculture seeks to maximize the contribution of Africa's largest economic sector to achieving the ambition of a self-reliant and productive Africa that can participate fully in the world economy," he said.
Mr Debrah said the conference was also expected to put the Continent on a higher economic growth path of sustainable development and preservation of the natural resource base.
CAADP would bring together leaders of regional economic communities, heads of bilateral and multilateral development organizations, leaders of farmers' organizations, as well as global agribusiness leaders to agree on actions and support implementation of the CAADP agenda at the regional and country levels.
Mr Debrah said the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme document estimated an investment cost of 251 billion dollars between 2002 and 2015.
Out of the estimated amount, 68 billion dollars would be used to extend sustainable land management and reliable water control system, including increasing the area under irrigation to 20 million hectares and improving land management.
A total of 128.8 billion dollars would be used to improve rural infrastructure and trade related capacity for market access. He said 89 billion dollars of the amount would be for infrastructure; 37 billion dollars for operation and maintenance and 2.8 billion for trade related capacities for improved market access.
Increase in food supply and reduction in hunger would involve 49.6 billion dollars out of which 6.6 billion dollars would be for raising the productivity of 15 million small farms through improved technology, services and policies and one billion dollars for regional support to food security.
Agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption would take 4.6 billion dollars.
The Agriculture Minister said the huge investments might not be immediately available on the Continent, however it was believed that an important part of funding could come from beneficiaries and domestic resource mobilization.
"Africa's own commitment to funding agriculture should be seen against a background of re-emerging international recognition that funding agriculture is vital for sustainable development," he said. Financing for agriculture under the NEPAD/CAADP, he said, was based on the dual assumptions that Africa itself would increase its level of investment and its external partners would come forward to support it.
On the progress Ghana has made on the CAADP implementation, Mr Debrah said, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was preparing a bankable investment project proposals for three areas.
The three areas are the development of micro-irrigation schemes and groundwater development, accelerated rural roads and market development and post-harvest system and agro-processing support.
Mr Debrah expressed the hope that the project proposals would be presented to governments and development partners for financial support for implementation and urged Ghanaians to join in the event and support President Kufuor.