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UNDP Official urges African govts to implement Maputo agreement

The Maputo Declaration was launched in 2003 as a response to the stagnation of African agriculture.

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UNDP Economist Mr Ojijo Odhiambo play

UNDP Economist Mr Ojijo Odhiambo

(Moses Magadza)

Mr Ojijo Odhiambo, Economic Advisor, UN Development Programme (UNDP), has urged African governments to implement the Maputo agreement, to achieve food security in the continent.

Odhiambo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, that the governments needed to go back to the basis by investing in agriculture.

The Maputo Declaration was launched in 2003 as a response to the stagnation of African agriculture.

The signatories to the declaration agreed that 10 per cent of public expenditure should be spent on agriculture in an effort to increase agricultural productivity.

He said that the continent needed to put its money where its mouth is.

“African governments under Muputo Declaration agree that countries should invest at least 10 per cent of their budgets into agricultural sector.

“On average, only three per cent of the budget goes into the agriculture. Today, only 13 countries out of over 40 Sub-Sahara countries have exceeded that 10 per cent.

“From the policy point of view, we need to allocate more resources to agriculture sector.’’

In addition, the official urged the governments to invest in research and development.

He said they should also provide incentives for farmers to adopt new technologies, expand irrigation, intensify the use of fertiliser and improved seedlings.

“A lot of farmers still use old farming practices, they don’t have improved seeds, they don’t use fertiliser and as a result of this; productivity is very low.

“There is a disconnect; there is paradox between what we see as the number of people that are employed in the agricultural sector, the proportion which is around 70 per cent.

“The sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is so low, almost 25 per cent.

“So, we must bridge the gap between the level of employment in the sector and the rate of contribution of the sector to GDP.’’

This, he said, the continent should move towards high productive in the agriculture sector through the use of technology.

“For example, the continent must take the advantage of current technology like Mobile telephony platforms.

“How can we provide extension services.

“It is just like people walking to go to the farm but also use mobile telephony platforms.

“How can farmers access credit and inputs. Using modern technology like smart card so these are the things we need to think about in the continent.’’ 

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