African countries advised to do more to improve agriculture

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African countries have made tangible progress in enhancing agricultural productivity, promoting sustainable farming practices and addressing food security and rural poverty.

Still, more efforts are needed to mitigate food-related challenges, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko said.

“Through initiatives such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), investment in agricultural infrastructure, and the promotion of sustainable farming practices, we have seen positive impacts on the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and rural households across the continent,” Sacko told a meeting of agricultural ministers Friday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He cautioned that the countries are lagging behind in fulfilling the seven broad commitments of the CAADP, a flagship program aimed to enhance agricultural development on the African continent.

African countries passed the Malabo Declaration in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014, committing themselves to upholding the CAADP principles and values; enhancing investment in agriculture; ending hunger and halving poverty by 2025; boosting intra-African agricultural trade and enhancing resilience to climate variability, among others, as means to implement the CAADP.

“Two years remaining before the Malabo Declaration period lapses, there is urgency for member states to accelerate CAADP implementation, including through the provision of the financing required to achieve the aspirations of CAADP in order to build resilient African food system,” the commissioner said.

“Lack of investment, internal dispute and war, and external factors including climate change are some of the factors contributing to prevailing food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa,” the commissioner said in an interview with Xinhua.

“The AU needs to continue working with member states and regional economic communities to mitigate the food security challenges in Africa,” he said.

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