Africa Needs $110m To Support Farmers says FAO
Wednesday, 02 May 2012
The Director General, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, has said that Africa needs $110 million to assist small and marginal farmers in Africa.
Speaking at the FAO’s 27th Regional Conference for Africa, held in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, he said: "In the Horn of Africa, we are losing the opportunity to build on our recent gains and assure resilient rural communities. In the Sahel, this means not putting in place measures that could prevent the food security situation from worsening. As of today, funding gaps for the entire year reached a total of $239 million for the two regions.
The director noted that resources would be used to cover a variety of short and long-term activities, including cash and voucher for work programmes, distribution of seeds, fertilisers and tools and training to farmers, livestock and vaccinations and production of fodder.
In recognising the efforts being made by donor countries to maintain their international aid Graziano da Silva, added that it was in times of crises that the vulnerable populations need help the most.
Speaking to ministers and other senior officials of the African continent, the FAO boss explained FAO’s new approach to fighting hunger in Africa, Key aspects include working together with partners under nationally and regionally led actions to link emergencies to development, build up resilience of rural families and communities, scale up successful initiatives, encourage public and private investments in agriculture and food security, manage risks and strengthen local institutions.
He however stressed the importance of intra-African trade and supporting Africa’s smallholder farmers, herders and fishers for food security, "The continent spends over 50 billion dollars annually on food imports. At the same time, over 50 per cent of its labour force is made up of small-holder farmers, herders, foresters and fishers. Let’s find ways to put them together so that Africa can feed Africa."
FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Africa, Maria Helena Semedo, added that Africa’s agriculture sector was currently undergoing dynamic change and needs a new paradigm and an invigorated vision.
"We must help Africa farmers to not only produce more food but to produce it more efficiently in order to double agricultural production to meet the increasing demand for food on the continent," said Semedo.