Business News of Tuesday, 22 May 2012Source: GNA The Group of Eight Nations has tasked the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to play a key role in the group’s next phase of a shared commitment to achieve global food security.
A statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday by Ms Sylvia Mwichuli AGRA Director, Communications and Public Affairs, said AGRA has been tasked to host the Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership.
According to the statement, the new initiative focuses on increasing agricultural food production and will focus on strengthening Africa’s seed sector.
The Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership will also promote the commercialization, distribution and adoption of key technologies to improved seed varieties, and other technologies to meet concrete targets in partner countries.
AGRA has been working since its creation five years ago through many partners to create bread baskets in Africa through support to millions of smallholder farmers.
According to the statement, “AGRA is working with its main partners to create bread baskets in Africa through support to smallholder farmers…we are now seeing smallholder farmers prospering due to bigger crop yields, and entire communities benefiting from the growth of small agribusinesses”.
Through the support of AGRA and its partners, an additional 40,000 metric tons per annum of hybrid seed, representing one-third of the commercially produced seed in Africa, is now reaching smallholder farmers.
These seeds have been produced by 60 small, African-owned seed companies launched with capital and strengthened by AGRA – a 100% increase in the number of such companies.
In terms of food production, this means an additional four million metric tons of staple crops per annum. AGRA’s experts believe that, the tipping point to food security with respect to improved seeds is 500,000 metric tons per annum of high yielding, improved crop varieties.
President Barack Obama of the United State unveiled a plan to inject three billion U.S. dollars in private sector pledges for food security and agriculture production in Africa.
President Obama said the G8 nations have moral, economic and security imperatives to lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition in Africa, despite those large economies facing urgent challenges including “creating jobs, addressing the situation in the euro zone, sustaining the global economic recovery”.
The new global initiative, titled New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, aims at mobilizing more private investments and taking innovations to enhance agricultural productivity.
He said 45 companies, including major international corporations and African companies, have pledged to invest three billion U.S. dollars to help boost agriculture and food production in Africa, which has kicked off the new plan.**