Dr. Ibrahim who spoke in Rome, took African governments to task for not living up to their commitments to invest in agriculture and rural development, stressing that its essential that they create opportunities for young people in agriculture so that they are able to resist the dangerous call of extremism.
“No jobs, no hope,” he said, adding that Africa has more hungry, malnourished people than anywhere else in the world. “We are by far the least productive region in the agriculture sector but because we have more uncultivated, arable land than anywhere else, it presents opportunities.”
NaijaAgroNet equally gathered that a private-sector panel which included Sunny Verghese, Co-founder and Group CEO of Olam International, highlighted the need for bold initiatives to better link smallholder farmers to markets. Panel participants emphasized that everyone – government, the private sector, financing institutions such as IFAD, small- and medium-sized enterprises and smallholders farmers – have a role to play.
While the second panel discussion, facilitated by IFAD Associate Vice President Périn Saint Ange, focused on innovative agricultural solutions to many of the global challenges discussed over the two days, including IFAD investments in farming technologies, approaches to empower women and youth, and the use of new technology to enhance rural development project design and management.
Dr Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, told correspondent that the world is at a crossroad in terms of its overuse of natural resources, and that the Middle East and North Africa region already has some of the highest water scarcity in the world.
"Climate change impacts the poor and marginalized most of all,” she said, underlining that they have huge challenges ahead, and there is need to act now.
NaijaAgroNet further gathered that some of the outcomes from the Farmers’ Forum, a two-day meeting held in conjunction with IFAD’s Governing Council, organizers announced a plan to make the platform for dialogue more inclusive, inviting pastoralists and livestock breeders to take part, and more decentralized creating stronger links to smallholders and family farmers on the ground.
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Pix: Mo Ibrahim