Business News of 2014-05-24

AU declares 2014 year of Agriculture and Food Security

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has said that the African Union Assembly of Head of State and Government has declared the year 2014 to be the year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.

It said the year also marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

In a release issued to the Ghana News Agency on Friday in Accra, it said as the AU commemorates 2014 as the “Year of Agriculture and Food Security” across Africa, a number of questions have been raised about the state of Agriculture in Africa and in particular the role of the sector in Africa’s economic transformation.

According to the release, Africa accounts for about 25 per cent of the world’s unused fertile land (World Bank report, 2013). Yet, it is a net importer of food, recipient of substantial food aid and continues to experience recurrent food crisis.

“Furthermore, out of the estimated one billion people worldwide who suffer from chronic hunger, about 300 million are from sub-Sahara Africa while there is a pool of unemployed population (the youth) who constitute about 60 per cent of the continent’s population.

If this huge reservoir of the youthful talent could be channelled into agriculture, the continent would satisfy its demand for food and raw materials for industry.”

It said involving the youth in Agriculture seems to be one of the means to improve the livelihood and economic opportunities for shared growth and prosperity among the African people.

The release noted that the 10th anniversary forum, being organised under the theme: “Promoting Youth in Agriculture: it is time to walk the talk’’ seeks to interrogate these and other issues with the aim of realizing the potential of the agricultural sector as the vehicle for youth development and Africa’s economic transformation.

It said speakers at the forum would include Alhaji E.A. Mahama, the coordinator of the youth in Agriculture Programme at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Abu Sakara Foster, 2012 Presidential Candidate of the CPP, Dr. George T.M. Kwadzo, Senior Lecturer, School of Agriculture, University of Ghana, and representatives from various (youth) farmers associations.

The keynote address would be delivered by the Minster of Food and Agriculture.