Ruto challenges African leaders to think beyond agriculture production

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President William Ruto Wednesday challenged African leaders to take the discourse on agriculture beyond production to value addition and manufacturing.

He said Africa has the potential to produce surplus food and process it for export.

Ruto will generate more income and create jobs, especially for the youth.

Speaking during the Dakar 2 Summit – Feed Africa in Senegal on Wednesday, Ruto said these are the initiatives that will transform Africa.

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“We should not be discussing food shortage 60 years after independence,” he said.

In a panel discussion of Heads of State and Governments, Ruto said the upscaling of agriculture in the continent would require the right input, technology, enhanced irrigation and mechanization.

“Young people are also critical in the revival of our agriculture. Crucially, the greater the infusion of technology, the better the returns.”

He warned against dependence on rain-fed agriculture saying many countries in Africa experience hunger due to this.

Irrigation, Ruto explained, will assure Africa of enough food for consumption and export.

“There is no magic to enhanced agricultural production; more fertilizer use translates to more production.”

Senegal President said Macky Sall, the co-convener of the summit, said it was regrettable that Africa had become dependent on food imports despite its great agricultural potential.

He called on African Governments and development partners to work together to reverse the trend.

“Africa should learn to feed itself and contribute to feeding the rest of the world,” he said. “We need to allocate at least 10 percent of our budget to agriculture.”

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina called on African leaders to utilize variable land to feed the continent and end the existing dependence on food imports.

“What Africa does with agriculture today will determine the future of food security in the world,” he added.

He said AfDB will invest the 10 billion USD in the next five years to support food production in Africa.

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