By Sodiq Lawal
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari joined others African at the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dakar, Senegal.
The President had urged African leaders to demonstrate the political will and re-commit themselves to the transformation of agriculture on the continent. The President called on his counterparts to embrace innovative policies that would ensure that the continent’s citizens eat what they produce as well as export the surplus.
Buhari also welcomed the provision of $538.05 million by the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) for Nigeria programme.With rising inflation globally and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that have driven up food prices, especially for basic staples such as wheat and maize, the Nigerian leader listed measures that African leaders must take to change the status quo.
‘‘Feeding Africa is an imperative. We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow, and well into the future. The starting point is to raise agricultural productivity. This requires the access of farmers to quality farm inputs, especially improved seeds, and fertilizers and mechanisation. To succeed, we must strongly support farmers. There is no doubt that we need to subsidise our farmers, but we must do so in ways that are transparent, remove rent seeking behaviour and effectively deliver support to farmers.
‘‘The share of budget allocation to agriculture should be increased across Africa, especially for investments in critical public goods, such as research and development, infrastructure, especially roads, irrigation, and energy. As leaders, let us decisively ensure that we meet the 10% allocation of our budgets to agriculture as agreed in the Malabo Declaration of the African Heads of State and Government. We must reduce the rate of rural to urban migration through the development of rural areas’,’ he said.
President Buhari noted further that the future of agriculture in Africa would depend on getting more youth into agriculture, which means making agriculture attractive for them.