A group of senior African parliamentarians has supported former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call to action at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).
“The AGRF is the most bold and holistic approach to getting Africa’s agriculture really on course,” said Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs, in the Parliament of Ghana.
“It has identified all stakeholders without exception to come on board to share their experiences,” said Dr Yakubu.
H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, echoed the sentiment in a speech summarising the second day at the AGRF:
“Parliaments must lead the way and help spearhead the achievement of the green revolution at country levels.”
The comments followed a panel session attended by AGRF Chair, Kofi Annan, on the theme: mobilizing parliamentarians for action.
Mr Annan challenged the group: “if politicians don’t lead, the people will make them lead.”
He heard views from influential parliamentary committee chairs, including the Hon. John M. Mututho, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, Parliament of Kenya.
The Hon. Ms. Wonekha Oliver, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock Industries and Fisheries, Parliament of Uganda and Patricia Hajabakiga, Member of the East African Legislative Assembly, and a former Environment Minister in Rwanda, were also at the panel session.
The moderator of the meeting, former British MP, Tony Worthington, noted that agricultural parliamentary committees need to be better supported to play their roles, through capacity building initiatives.
The parliamentarians lauded the efforts of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) to launch a capacity building initiative in support of agricultural parliamentary committees in Africa.
In an afternoon press conference the Ghanaian Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Kwesi Ahwoi, also issued a call to action for all stakeholders to support the AGRF-backed breadbasket initiative.
The initiative will bring new funding to Ghana’s northerly region to help transform agricultural production.
It is intended that other countries follow the breadbasket model.
“African governments must see agriculture at the top of their development agenda,” added Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).