By Julius Bizimungu
President Paul Kagame has emphasized the need to invest in modern technologies as one of key metrics to drive Africa’s agricultural sector and agribusiness activities.
He was speaking during a Presidential Panel at the just-concluded African Green Revolution Forum 2020, hosted by Rwanda.
Kagame said agricultural exchange involves both a producer and a consumer in a relationship of buying and selling.
“The goal for agricultural transformation is to get a better deal for both parties,” he said. “In Rwanda, we have been working to demonstrate that our farmers can achieve significantly higher productivity and income from agribusiness.”
Doing so, he added, requires investing in modern technologies including irrigation and improved crops, as well as more efficient markets and distribution channels.
He highlighted the work being done with the Howard Buffett Foundation at the Nasho Irrigation Cooperative (NAICO) in the Eastern Province, and aims to show that farmers’ livelihoods can be successfully transformed at scale and in a sustainable manner.
“Our food system is also about consumers who desire a greater variety of products at affordable prices and of course, the food we eat needs to be nutritious, especially for children,” he noted.
The Presidential panel featured Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, and AU Commission’s President Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The panel which focused on transforming African food systems also featured Hailemariam Dessalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Tony Blair and Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
President Kagame highlighted that currently African consumers live in cities, with the continent possessing the world’s fastest rates of urbanization, which will remain the case for the next decades
“The quality of urbanization depends, in large part, on ensuring solid linkages between urban food markets, and Africa’s rural producers,” he said.
The Head of State also indicated that the continent is a breadbasket and “we are now joined together in the world’s largest trade zone, the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
However, Kagame thinks the only reason that Africa can continue to import large amounts of its food from outside the continent, is that it simply has not been a priority to add value to our own products and do more business with each other.
“This has started to change but it will be upon the young people to seize the opportunity available to fundamentally change the business of food in Africa,” he emphasized.
Credit to New Times.