This year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit will be held in Kenya this coming September.
The Meeting usually brings together players in the agriculture sectors to share lessons that is geared towards moving agriculture in Africa forward.
Speaking during a press conference on the upcoming event in Nairobi, AGRF Chairman Hailemariam Desalegn said Kenya’s private sector will have an opportunity to showcase some of the innovations they have developed and the progress the country has made towards sustainable food systems.
He said that prior to the COVID 19 pandemic almost 690 million people or 8.9 per cent of global population were undernourished and if this trend continues the under nourished will exceed 880 million by 2030.
Two billion people or 25. 9 per cent of global population experienced hunger at the same time, Desalegn said adding that what this means is that there was not sufficient food and therefore shows how agriculture is important to global community.
“We are off -track to achieve the commitment to end hunger by 2030. Statistics on food security are not encouraging and we will need a new approach that results in resource mobilization towards hunger eradication, combining public and private investment otherwise will not achieve to zero hunger,” he added.
The former Ethiopian Prime Minister said in order to be able to attract investment into the Kenyan private sector, the agribusiness deal-room that will be provided during the forum is an opportunity for Kenyan companies.
“Those seeking investors will be able to share their investment needs with over 50 global investors with an interest in African agriculture. Over the past three years more than 300 African companies have shared investment needs in excess of USD 1.4 billion,” he said.
Desalegn said Kenya remains a beacon of success for the agriculture sector, and that the AGRF Summit 2021 is another opportunity for the world to see what progress Kenya has been making.
He urged the private sector to partner with AGRA and AGRF to take advantage of the opportunity to showcase Kenya’s leadership in agriculture and seek investors to invest in Kenyan companies.
“The private sector which leads in innovation in Africa plays a role in investing to support farmers’ access to the right yield enhancing technologies (seed, fertilizer, and crop protection chemicals), finance, markets, post-harvest technologies, irrigation, and mechanization services,” Desalegn said.
Agnes Kalibata the President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa said Africa should move away from being synonymous with hunger since we are not a hungry continent and have best resources in the world, hardworking people and we are working on the best private sector ever.
“Kenya will bring the whole world to Kenya in this upcoming meeting and our aim in the food systems is about recognizing that our environment also needs us to pay attention on what we are doing and that we cannot just produce food and go about business without recognizing that the environment is begging to buckle under the weight we are putting on it.
She added that the forum is designed to energize political will and advance policies, programs and investments required to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the continent.
“The forum works explicitly to help African countries and the continent make continuous progress to achieve the visions set in the Malabo Declaration and related Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Africa’s Agenda 2063,” Kalibata said.
Jennifer Baarn, Head of partnerships AGRA said they are expecting 500 participants as well as 10,000 people from 150 countries participating virtually between 7 and 10 of September,
“The forums will be looking at value chain development, SME development, looking at business models providing for farmers, and transactions that help the small holder farmers. If we don’t support small holder farmers and SMEs we will fail in agricultural transformation”, she said.
According to the FAO latest report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 we are off track to achieve the commitment to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as unprecedented desert locust outbreaks in Eastern Africa, have been obscuring economic prospects in ways no one could have anticipated, and the situation may only get worse if Africa does not take unprecedented action.
By Wangari Ndirangu