Farmers urged to support new agri project

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pretoria - Government needs the involvement of both small-holder and commercial farmers in implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

Acting Director-General at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Sipho Ntombela, said: "It is crucial for South Africa to be deeply involved in CAADP and for us to be successful in tackling poverty alleviation and hunger in rural areas. We need the involvement of everyone, the private sector, both small-holder and commercial farmers."

Ntombela was speaking to BuaNews at a one-day seminar in Pretoria, focusing on the implementation of the CAADP in the country.

Established as part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), CAADP was endorsed by the African Union Assembly in July 2003.

Through CAADP, African governments are committed to raising agriculture productivity by at least six percent in a year.

This is the minimum required if Africa is to achieve agriculture-led socio-economic growth and these governments have agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by 10%.

Ntombela further said: "As a country, we've been lagging behind in implementing CAADP and this is the start of the work and we've invited commercial farmers and farmer unions to be part of this journey, which is also in support of our zero hunger programme."

He said there are four pillars on which CAADP rests and these are extending the area under the sustainable land management and reliable water control systems by increasing access to irrigation.

The pillars include increasing market access through improved rural infrastructure and other trade-related interventions, increasing food supply and reducing hunger across the region by increasing small-holder productivity and improving responses to food emergencies.

"The last pillar is to improve agricultural research and systems to disseminate appropriate new technologies and increasing the support given to help farmers to adopt them," he said.

Chief executive of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, said agriculture and food security tops the agency's six themes.

"NEPAD will be encouraging continent-wide, regional and national governments to undertake the policy and investment measures necessary to speed up and broaden the growth process.

"CAADP is about doing more with the money and effort already being expended in Africa by national governments and donors to address food security and to encourage economic growth. It is once again about networking, setting priorities and harmonising goals, spending and activities between various stakeholders committed to raise living standards in Africa," he said.

South Africa's move to implement the CAADP was also praised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

FAO senior policy officer who is based in Rome, Weldeghaber Kidane said: "As FAO, we are committed to fully supporting South Africa in implementing CAADP.

"In this way, African countries are heading towards a right direction in which there instead of depending on external hand from partners in developed countries, they will be doing things internally."

CAADP is about bringing together diverse key players, at the continental, regional and national levels to improve co-ordination, to share knowledge, successes and failures, to encourage one another and to promote joint and separate efforts to achieve the four CAADP priorities.

Most Read

SA News on Facebook