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Agriculture for food self sufficiency

Jul 17, 2013, 11:23 AM

Development, they say, is change. Change is caused to happen, but not left to happen.

The relationship between governments in Africa needs to be caused to change.

First of all, we should think of the advancement of Africa as a continent. It is our belief that the continent should foster South-South cooperation by increasing trade between Africa and other nations of the South, which face the same challenges as it does.

African governments should support farming programmes in order to shield the continent from the ongoing global economic crisis.

Africa can reduce the food import bill through improving production on its farms thereby insulating itself from the global economic crisis, which has affected many economies in the West.

A large chunk of our people are in danger of slipping back below the poverty line, if our leaders do not collectively strategise to deal with this crisis.

The global economic crisis, no doubt, poses a danger to Africa, but also opens new opportunities for us. It must reveal to us as a continent that the abandoned and long suffering African farmer must become a focus of our attention.

We are also in agreement with experts that the continent can also shield itself against the crisis through generating its own resources for development, by being more cost effective in public financial management, avoiding waste in public expenditure and eliminating corruption, while creating a conducive legal and financial environment for the indigenous private sector to grow.

It is high time the African unification project was finalized, as this too would help minimize the risks of the global financial crisis on the continent.

It is an undeniable fact that the progress on the African unification project has been frustratingly slow, as our leaders parochially clung to our little flags and national anthems without seeing the advantages a more united Africa offers us.

We have restricted the movement of our people in little states, many of which lack the resources or capacity to ensure the full realization of the potential of our people.

Of recent, we have seen free and fair elections playing a key role in fostering the progress and prosperity of our continent.

Africans are tired of the poverty and disease, of the conflict and banditry. Africans have come to the realisation that things can only change if they take their destinies into their own hands.

The era of political dinosaurs, who consider their countries as their bona fide property and pillaged the resources for their comfort and a small political elite, is now probably over.

Leaders who have stashed away in foreign banks money equivalent to the entire budget of their countries are becoming a rare breed on the continent.

This pleasant wind of change has often been attributed to the so-called new crop of transformational leaders, with a vision and determination to lead their people out of poverty into a society of prosperity for all.

This transformation is, no doubt, the result of the frustration of our people with the abject poverty and squalor that they have had to contend with, often in the midst of some of the most valuable and extensive natural resources that can be found anywhere in this world.

‘Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own.’

Samuel Johnson