BY SAMUEL OTIENO
[NAIROBI] Capacity building for smallholder farmers has been identified as a crucial factor in transforming African agriculture. This was one of the key issues discussed during the 6th session of the African Green Revolution Forum recently held in Nairobi that I attended.
Of concern to me, African government’s leadership, private sectors and farmers is central to provide the best way forward to achieve transformation in African Agriculture.
Experts at the meeting emphasized that 80 per cent of farms are managed by smallholders and they are living in rural areas, the key to transforming African agriculture lies in empowering the smallholder farmers, enabling rural value creation and providing jobs for rural youth.
Martin Kropff, director general ,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT said that with improved seeds varieties, innovative technology that will save time for farmers, qualified storage technology, irrigation that will solve the problem of food waste will definitely change agriculture in Africa.
Kropff note that Government should try and make agriculture attractive to youths by coming up with ICT innovative platforms sine they are the backbone of Africa population.
“As the region faces increasing challenges from climate change, rapidly growing urban populations, and an urgent need for jobs, agriculture offers solutions, providing a clear path to food and nutritional security and employment opportunities for all Africans”, says Kropff.
Kropff explains that with the right policies and investments in place, we can now transform the lives of hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers and put all countries on the path to a sustainable agricultural transformation.
Jakaya Kikwete, former president, the republic of Tanzania said Africa should address the constraints growth and development by taking farmers as the game changers in the Agriculture sectors.
Kikwete said that, we need to make agriculture a top priority on the African economic agenda, in the public and private sector. We need to hold ourselves and others accountable for the change we want to see. And we need to put smallholders at the center of this work.
“Essential extensions that provide adequate information to the farmers like how to apply fertilizers and seeds, constant policies that will create market value to the small holders farmers; enable them to enter and exit the market freely”, Says Kikwete.