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Africa urged to speed up efforts to enhance agriculture

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African countries have made tangible progress in enhancing agricultural productivity, sustainable farming practices and addressing food security and rural poverty, but more efforts are needed to mitigate food-related challenges, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko said.

Sacko was speaking at a meeting of agricultural ministers at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he further said that initiatives such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), investment in agricultural infrastructure, and the promotion of sustainable farming practices, have had a positive impact on the lives of millions of subsistence farmers and rural households across the continent.

Cereals on display at an African market / Xinhua.

He cautioned, however, that countries are lagging in fulfilling the seven broad commitments of the CAADP, a flagship program meant to enhance agricultural development on the continent.

“Two years remain before the Malabo Declaration period lapses, there is urgency for member states to accelerate CAADP implementation, including through the provision of the financing required to achieve the aspirations of CAADP in order to build a resilient African food system,” the commissioner said.

“Lack of investment, internal dispute and war, and external factors including climate change are some of the factors contributing to prevailing food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa,” the commissioner said in an interview with Xinhua.

African countries passed the Malabo Declaration in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014, committing to upholding the CAADP principles and values of enhancing investment in agriculture, ending hunger and halving poverty by 2025, boosting intra-African agricultural trade, enhancing resilience to climate variability, among others.

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