ABUJA – Mrs Louise Setshwaelo, the FAO Representative in Nigeria has attributed the slow pace of agricultural development in Africa to poor implementation of policies.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, Setshwaelo said:“We developed a lot of policies in Africa and honestly, what I can say is that we are not doing well not because of the lack of good policies.
“Most African countries have good policies; what is lacking is implementation of those good policies and I think the political will has to be there.’’
She said that better implementation of policies was one of the areas FAO was collaborating with various governments in Africa to have the will power to implement those policies to promote agriculture and also to address malnutrition in the continent.
Setshawaelo further stressed the need to strengthen infrastructures to support agriculture in Africa, noting that irrigation was most under-utilised in the continent.
She urged African governments to ensure that investments in the agriculture sector were sustainable.
Setshwaelo added that increased access to land, credit and capacity building would further encourage the participation of youths and women in agriculture.
“We have women who make up to 50 per cent of agriculture labour; women who are farmers themselves.
“Women actually have very limited access to resources; first is the issue of land and secondly, is the issue of credit; they are the least people who are able to access these resources they need for production.’’
Setshwaelo urged youths to avail themselves of opportunities in agriculture to become actively involved in developing the sector.
According to her, there is the need to build the capacity of young people to add value to the value chain.
“We need to build the capacity of not only the older population, but also to encourage young people.
“It is not just about production, they can also be service providers; they can also be input providers, marketers and they add value to every knot of the value chain they can go into.’’
On the issues of hunger reduction, Setshwaelo said that if agriculture received improved participation of youths and women, the amount of post-harvest losses recorded in the sector would be reduced.
“Because if you are producing little and 30 per cent of that is lost as post-harvest losses, the chances of really reducing hunger will also go down,’’ she said. (NAN)