Accra, May 6, GNA- Costing, and the financial commitment to projects by African countries under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAAD) so far pose a challenge to the execution of the Programme.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Secretariat is therefore vigorously co-ordinating and facilitating the technical aspects of the Programme to ensure that the projects under the Programme are owned by the various countries to ensure their early implementation. Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Secretariat announced at a press conference in Accra that Ministers of Agriculture of member countries of NEPAD have expressed strong support for the programme and started with its implementation.
The press conference was organised as part of a two-day summit on the implementation of the 241- billion dollar CAAD, by Ministers of Agriculture of NEPAD countries underway in Accra.
The NEPAD developed the 241-billion dollar programme aimed at restoring food security in Africa through the facilitation of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation.
It was proposed that the CAAD programme ran until 2015, and it included 69 dollar-billion for maintenance and operation and 35 billion for emergencies and safety nets.
In terms of the immediate future, 2002-2005, the proposed amount is 56 billion dollars, in the short-term 2006- 2010, US 97 billion and the medium term 2011-2015, 88 billion dollars.
The programme operates on the four pillars of extending the area under sustainable land management, and reliable water control systems, improving rural infrastructure, and trade-related capacities for market access, increasing food supply and agricultural research, technology and dissemination and adoption.
Prof Nkulhu, in an answer to a question said 200 million people in Africa are chronically hungry with the continent experiencing food shortages every year.
The cause of the shortage, he noted was as result of the dependence on rain-fed agriculture, poverty, the absence of reserve systems, efficient transportation and communication systems.
Ministers of Agriculture from Ghana, Kenya and South Africa explained the various stages their governments had reached with the programme.
They highlighted the issue of subsidies, cheap agricultural imports, improved marketing strategies for better intra-African trade. Each country also stated measures it was adopting to ensure food security, which included improving irrigation methods, farmers' access to credit and the building of consultations among governments, business people and farmers as well as making the agricultural sector reflect the demographic reforms of the countries.