By Cecilia Ijuo
Abuja – Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State on Monday enjoined African leaders to show more commitment in tackling factors militating against agricultural development in Africa.
Bagudu made the call at the 6th Edition of African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE), with the theme: “Rising to Meet New Challenges: Africa’s Agricultural Development”.
Bagudu, also the Chairman of Presidential Task Force Committee on Rice and Wheat Production, said that the state of agricultural development in continent was disturbing.
‘’It is high time we put forth issues limiting agriculture in Africa. Agriculture is the most distorted issue in the world and it is affecting Africa because that is the mainstay of the economy.
“The fact that for Africa, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been unable to reach an agreement on agriculture is disturbing.
‘’Distortions in agriculture, which the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) estimated to be about 528 billion dollars per annum from 2016 to 2018 affects Africa more than any other continent.
“Without those distortions, most of that money will come to Africa in order to support agriculture,’’ he said.
Bagudu said that it was important for African countries to exploit the recently signed Africa Continental Trade Agreement, which had opened up opportunities for African countries to sell themselves better.
According to him, due to technological advancement in agriculture, stakeholders are beginning to neglect small holder farmers rather than integrate them for better yield and higher productivity.
“African agricultural sector is dominated by hundreds of millions of uninsured subsistence farmers and it is important to preserve them.
“We will do better to support the small family based farmers to improve productivity and improved livelihood rather than displacing them due to mechanisation.”
He said that the conference was timely because it had provided for Africans to come together to advance professional interest, and reflect on urgent and important agricultural development issues.
The three days conference provides the opportunity for African scholars, policy makers, agribusiness representatives and development practitioners to examine how new trends are shaping agricultural development in Africa.