By Leonard Nshimiyimana
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame arrived in Kenya’s capital Nairobi this morning to attend the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). Kagame joins other African heads of state to discuss measures to deal with biting issues in Agriculture sector-a key backbone to the continent’s survival.
The high-level meeting, organized by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which attracted over 1500 delegates drawn across the world, seeking to advance policies and secure investments that will ensure a better life for millions of Africa’s farmers and families.
Africa is at the centre of facing serious issues of food insecurity in the next few years if there are urgent investments in Agriculture sector, experts warn.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, former Rwanda’s Agriculture Minister and the current President of AGRA, says the continent is urgently in need of between $400 billion of investment in food production over the next decade in order to meet its needs.
“It could require $315 billion to $400 billion over the next 10 years in public and private sector investments in all aspects of food production, processing, marketing and transport,” Kalibata says.
She however noted that Africa has seen innovations, institutions program and efficient policies, adding that, “This gathering is our opportunity to come together to advance the policies and secure the investments that will enable farming families to lift themselves out of poverty by embracing farming as a business.”
Meanwhile, Rwanda has invested heavily in Agriculture-a sector that contributes nearly 35% of the country’s GDP, with a projected annual growth of 8.5% by 2018. For the last 15 years, government has been investing in its 1.5 million hectares of arable land, with Rwf100 billion ($133, 4 million) put in irrigation projects.
At least 63% of it of Rwanda’s arable land (600,000 ha) need urgent irrigation mechanization plans in order to start producing.
Meanwhile, the Nairobi forum was designed to showcase examples of agricultural transformation in action and to promote efforts to accelerate impact and provides golden opportunity to delegates for learning, sharing and networking.
At the forum, President Kagame joined his host President Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Macky Sall of Senegal, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, Allassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast and Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu.
The Agriculture forum is also attended by former presidents including Olusegun Obasanjo, Joaquim Chissano, Mrisho Kikwete and John A Kuofur-joining heads of state and agricultural experts to come up with ideas to transform agricultural sector.