President of AGRA Dr. Agnes Kalibata is urging private sector players in Africa to work towards the creation of an agricultural ecosystem that works for farmers.
She says farmers know how to grow food already and only need the appropriate environment to be able to help resolve Africa’s food insecurity challenges.
“Farmers know how to farm. Of course, they need extension services because agriculture is a science. But even before extension, farmers were producing food. We just need them to do better. The private sector can create a system so farmers can thrive… Farmers need to know where they can get good seeds, fertilisers, and other inputs, and markets” she observed.
“We need farmers to be part of value chains where value chains exist. We need them to serve markets so they can thrive rather than be subsistence farmers. That’s why we must continue working on an ecosystem that works for them,” she added.
Dr. Kalibata was speaking at the launch of AGRA’s new strategy in Kenya. The new strategy, which will run from 2023 to 2027 concentrates on key areas of work including seed system development and government engagement. The new strategy expands AGRA’s work in sustainable farming, markets and trade. It focuses on three critical areas of change: climate change, gender, youth and inclusion work, and transforming African diets.
Dr. Kalibata said: “AGRA has a 100% belief in the private sector as the engine of growth of the agricultural sector in Africa.”
“Our belief in the private sector as the critical missing link is how we do business. And the recognition that we need the right institutions from the private sector to do the right things. So, our investments revolve around strengthening the capacity of the private sector and institutions, so food systems can work,” she added.
AGRA is a pan-African institution born in 2006 out of the idea of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to mobilize partners to bring about a green revolution in Africa’s agriculture. AGRA says it is committed to the inclusive transformation of agriculture in Africa by raising incomes and improving food security for smallholder farmers while supporting countries on the path to sustainable transformation of their agricultural systems.
The event was graced by government officials, farmers, extension agents, and partners. Betty Kibaara of Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Region Office told the event her organisation and others are committed to supporting AGRA’s work through the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) initiative. PIATA was launched in 2017 to transform agricultural systems by driving integrated delivery within agro-economic zones and across value chains. “On behalf of the PIATA partners, I want to say we are committed to working together with AGRA,” she said.