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General News of Friday, 20 June 2008

Source: GNA

"Africa future lies in Green Revolution" - Kofi Annan

Koforidua, June 20, GNA - Former UN Chief, Busumuru Kofi Annan says the most critical question for Africa's future is a Green Revolution that would ensure that African farmers "dramatically increase their output so that Africa can feed itself and not be dependent on food aid". "I think no question is more important for the future of our Continent" than to "enable African farmers to dramatically increase their output, so that Africa can feed itself and not be dependent on food aid, that is what the Green Revolution is all about."

Fielding questions from a section of the world's media on the global food crises, its impact and solutions in Africa recently, Busumuru Annan demanded a set of actions that included aid to the hardest hit and "a pro-poor approach to raising productivity and food security in Africa." In the long term, however, he proposed that a coalition of African governments together with researchers, civil society, the private sectors and donors be formed with the aim of instigating food security on the Continent.

The International Institute for Journalism, Berlin assisted Ghana News Agency to submit questions on-line to the Institute of Development Studies, UK and the Future Agricultures Consortium, who jointly organized the event under their Salzburg Global Seminar platform. Busumuru Annan, who is Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said there was the need for the right "pro-poor policies that encourage rural development" in order to turn around the agricultural situation in Africa. Critical for the sustainability of agriculture in Africa, Busumuru Annan observed, was the need to focus on the impact of climate change, and to help to build capacity so as to "increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of the people for them to be able to maintain their livelihood".

Dr Akinwumi Akin Adesina, Vice-President of AGRA, urged African governments to see the food crisis, as an opportunity to invest more in agriculture; raise agricultural productivity and get a Green Revolution that would really address the problem at its roots. The General Coordinator of the Conference of Ministers of West and Central Africa, Mr Baba Dioum said in addition to climatic concerns, African governments should also work to improve on soil fertility and water management, since those two components were critical for agriculture development.