African Green Revolution Forum ends in Accra

THE 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has ended in Accra with the emergence of a series of initiatives and funding opportunities to support innovations in digital technologies and other areas of agriculture in Africa.

They include a new $500 million initiative by MasterCard Foundation, dubbed “Young Africa Works” that would support efforts of young African entrepreneurs to find meaningful employment in agriculture.

The World Bank is using part of a recently pledged $50 billion, for the transformation of Africa’s digital economy, to advance digital initiatives in agriculture, in addition to increased funding for food security initiatives.

Additionally, CGIAR, a global partnership body, under its Crops to End Hunger initiative, would support farmers to adapt to climate change, reinforce food and nutritional security and enhance the livelihoods on the continent.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture who made these known at the closing of the forum on Friday, said the commitments were made by the respective organisations during various plenary sessions.

The week-long event convened about 2,800 global players along the agriculture value chain from more than 50 countries, including past and present heads of states, 28 ministers of agriculture and global development partners, to discuss the use of digital technology to transform agriculture in Africa.

Organised by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and its partners, the annual gathering, the second to be hosted by Ghana in 10 years,  was on the theme “Grow digital; leveraging digital transformation to drive sustainable food system in Africa”.

According to Mr Akoto, delegates agreed on the need for multilateral, bilateral and private sector partners to support funding of activities to address multiple climate-related challenges to food production in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said they agreed to entrench resilience and adaptation interventions into national agricultural and investment plans and scale-up proven technologies targeting smallholder farmers, with special focus on women and youth.

Over the one week, he said delegates had advanced “a rigorous and informative series of discussions on how to accelerate efforts to use digital innovations to make farming in Africa more productive, profitable, sustainable and inclusive” and was optimistic that some progress would be made.

Dr Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and AGRF Secretariat noted that the continent was on the move and called on investors to explore opportunities in the growing market.

Rwanda was announced as the host for the next AGRF.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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