For the smallholder yam farmer at Mampong-Ejura in the Ashanti region of Ghana or the young graduate seeking opportunities in agribusiness, issues to be discussed at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2012) should be of great interest.

The next milestone to develop an African-led food security solutions would be shaped at the Forum holding in Arusha, Tanzania later this week.

AGRF 2012, under the theme ‘Scaling investment and innovation for sustainable agricultural growth and food security’, sets the stage for Africa’s leaders to promote investments and policy support to increase agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers.

“One thing that Mr. [Kofi] Annan has said over and over again is that he does not want a talk shop; he wants to see action points – what are the things we are committing to do?” stated Sylvia Mwichuli, Executive Producer of the Forum and Director Communications at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The AGRF is a private-sector led initiative which will brings together African governments, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, farmers, civil society organizations and scientists to discuss and develop concrete investment plans for achieving the green revolution in Africa.

A post on social networking to engage people’s expectations generated interesting comments and ideas.

According to David Raymond Quojo Asiamah of the Agro Mindset Organisation, policies must link producers to markets and enable value to be created throughout the supply chain to help create income opportunities and diversify rural activities, whilst ensuring environmentally sustainable production.

“In order to provide the conditions that will permit poor farm households to improve their own lives, governments, non-governmental organisations and international agencies must understand more clearly the agro ecological, physical, economic and cultural environment within which farmers and their families live – their farming systems” he wrote. “Only in this way can realistic policies, investments and technical assistance programmes be developed and implemented, and the latent capacity of the farming population fully released”.

Jane Karuku, President of AGRA noted that smallholder farmers are at the centre of activities, saying that the future will be more prosperous if African farmers are provided the tools they need to grow more and improve their incomes.

Leadership policy therefore remains crucial in the African agricultural transformation.

“They [Africa leaders] should ensure that agriculture protocols set are followed up promptly”, says Geoffrey Onditi, Kenyan journalist with keen interest in agriculture.

Similar concerns are shared by Felix Abugu, an Editor with Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper, who can’t understand why some countries in Africa produce excess food whilst others starve. He believes policies should promote continent-wide distribution of food.

With the recent $3 billion commitment at the G8 Summit to a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the African Green Revolution Forum would be looking for ways to increase the public-private sector partnership to drive global food security efforts.

“Everyone who matters in agriculture is coming to Arusha, so when we leave this place, we’ll be able to say, if it’s issues to do with policy, what policy do we need to change and who’s taking responsibility for making sure the change happens”, noted Sylvia Mwichuli.

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