Tanzania?s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, Christopher Chiza and President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Jane Karuku, have jointly announced that Tanzania will host an African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) from September 26 to 28, 2012.
The three-day meeting is the next milestone in developing African-led food security solutions, agreed at the recently held G8 summit in May at Camp David, USA.
At that summit, global leaders including 21 African countries and 27 private sector companies committed $3 billion to a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launching the next phase of the global food security effort to raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.
AGRF 2012, thus sets the stage for Africa?s leaders to drive the initiative, by promoting investments and policy support to increase agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers, says a press release issued last week in Arusha, Tanzania.
It is expected that global leaders who will be attending the forum to be hosted at Arusha?s Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, will tackle leadership policy, revolutionising African agricultural finance models, strengthening markets, and transforming African agriculture through innovative partnerships.
The leaders will include African Heads of State, ministers, executives of private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, farmers? groups, NGOs, civil society organisations and scientists, whose primary aim will be to discuss and develop concrete investment plans for scaling agricultural development success in Africa.
Other high profile participants expected are; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates; International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze; Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina; World Food Prize Laureate, Prof. Gebisa Ejeta and Yara International President & CEO, J?rgen Ole Haslestad.
Commenting, Honorable Christopher Chiza said; ?Tanzania has long known farming is at the centre of our economy ? we are pleased to welcome leaders from across the continent and around the world to find new ways to scale the success we?ve seen in our own agricultural breadbasket.?
?The goal of the government is to transform Tanzania into a middle-income country by 2025, fuelled, in a significant part, by growth in its agricultural sector,? Chiza stated further.
Yara International President, Chief Executive Officer, and co-chair of the forum, Mr. J?rgen Ole Haslestad also said; ?Public- and private-sector leaders are joining forces in unprecedented ways to ensure a more food secure future,? stating further, ?We have seen great success when players come together and invest strategically ? we hope to build on new momentum and work together to transform agriculture in Africa.?
Touching on the significance of the forum, AGRA President, Jane Karuku, said; ?Smallholder farmers are at the centre of all we do ? our approach is clear and proven ? if we provide African farmers the tools they need to grow more and improve their incomes, they will help lead us all into a more prosperous future.?
The African Green Revolution Forum will also continue to look for ways to unite the power of the public- and private-sectors in the global food security efforts, following recent discussions at the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa), the G8 and David Cameron?s Hunger Summit.
Organisers say the forum will remain focused on unlocking Africa?s agricultural potential, by empowering smallholder farmers across the continent.
They believe by collaborating with farmer?s organisations, civil society and other partners, the discussion will explore new ways to provide resources, overcome challenges and improve yields for the millions of farmers who are working less than two hectares of land across the continent.
Meanwhile, the host nation, Tanzania?s recent agricultural growth represents a case study of what is possible, with recent developments in the Kilombero District of Morogoro, where the yields for maize have recently increased for some smallholder farmers from 1.5 to 4.5 tons per hectare and the yields for rice increased from 2.5 to 6.5 tons per hectare being classic examples.
By Edmund Smith-Asante