Tanzania: Public-Private Partnership Stressed for Africa's Green Revolution
12 September 2013
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has warned that a Green Revolution cannot materialise in Africa without concerted effort to secure financing for agricultural production.
The Forum, which ended on Friday and brought together over 200 delegates from across Africa and the world, focused on the critical role to be played by public-private partnership and inclusive business models in the development of Africa's agriculture.
It heard that the global gap in financing for agriculture stood at 450billion US dollars, an issue which was more acute in Africa than anywhere else in the world. Evidence showed that only 10 per cent of African smallholder farmers had access to financing when they needed to expand their production and raise their income.
Irungu Houghton, convenor of the AGRF, said: "Throughout the African continent, we are witnessing successful partnerships between the private and public sectors and smallholder farmers.
"But these partnerships are still too rare. We will only be able to transform Africa's agriculture and alleviate food insecurity and poverty, if smallholders have the funds to boost their crop yields and expand their business."
Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Smallholder Farmers of Malawi, said: "Some African governments have gone some way towards addressing affordability and accessibility of production inputs, but challenges still persist.
"Each and every year smallholder farmers are pulled into a downward spiral of taking out high-interest loans in order to buy farming inputs for the following season. Without access to credit, smallholders cannot raise productivity."
The AGRF committed to focus over the next year on a number of priority actions, including ens uring that rising revenues from extractives industries are invested into the development of agriculture and reducing corruption in public-private partnerships and designing business ventures that are transparent, environmentally and socially responsible.
Antonio Limbau, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Mozambique, who formally closed the AGRF, said the forum was a valuable opportunity to discuss practical steps to strengthen capacity and extend the use of modern technology to increase productivity.
Jane Karuku, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) - a partner in the AGRF - said: 2014 is a critical year for agriculture, when African governments will be setting investment targets and plans to develop agriculture over the coming decade. "
The African Union has recognised this crucial moment and designated 2014 as the Year for Food Security and Agriculture. We are delighted to announce that next year's AGRF will be co-hosted with the African Union in Addis Ababa in September 2014" she added.