AfDB Conference on African Agriculture and Global Food Crisis
Tunis, 20 June – The African Development Bank (AfDB) will, from June 25-26, 2008, in Tunis, Tunisia, host an international conference on revitalizing African agriculture as part of efforts aimed at helping the continent deal with the global food crisis tht has caused a lot of pain and suffering on the continent.
Held on the theme: Revitalizing African Agriculture: Implications for Addressing the Food Crisis,’ the conference will bring together senior representatives of African governments, multilateral development institutions and donors to examine challenges and opportunities in Africa's agricultural sector following sudden increases in food prices that have caused a global food crisis.
The conference will assess the current performance of African agriculture, emerging challenges, and new opportunities in the sector, the organizers said.
It will also identify ways in which African agriculture can improve food security, contribute to sustainable and equitable growth and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the continent.
The impact of the global food crisis on poverty in Africa, and its short and long-term implications for the continent, will be the key area of focus.
"In particular, the discussions in the various sessions will emphasize past experiences, policies, institutions and programmes necessary to revitalize the agricultural sectors of African countries," said the AfDB Agriculture Director, Aly Abou-Sabaa, in Tunis.
The recommendations of the conference will be discussed at a consultative conference to be held immediately from (26-27 June) in Tunis. The conference will bring together several government ministers, representatives of multilateral developments banks, including the AfDB and the World Bank, the United Nations system, bilateral donor agencies and private organizations, including the Bill Gates and Rockefeller Foundations.
Pro-poor economic growth is vital to improved food security, marked reductions in poverty and the timely achievement of the MDGs. In many African countries, such broad-based growth is achieved through the agricultural sector which contributes substantially to GDP, employment, food security, trade and foreign exchange earnings.
Yet very little is still known about how best to promote pro-poor growth, especially through agriculture.
"In practice, many countries have not been able to take full advantage of the high potential of the agricultural sector due to the persistence of a variety of constraints. These include the low levels of technology, inadequate rural infrastructure, property rights that are unattractive to the private sector, persistence of government interventions in the sector, weak agricultural institutions including extension systems and research, widespread as well as high inequality in access to land, and limited access to credits for agricultural production.
"Overall, the emergence of the food crisis has generated the need to re-examine the performance and potential of the agricultural sector to address problems of poverty, the adequate supply of food and malnutrition on the continent," the conference organizers said.