AfDB’s agricultural transformation strategy to guarantee 513 million tons of additional food production

The African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) has developed a new initiative called the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative – a knowledge and innovation-based response to the recognized need of scaling up proven technologies across Africa.

Already, 25 African countries have written letters to the AfDB confirming their interest and readiness to participate in TAAT, and help transform their agriculture.

It will support AfDB’s Feed Africa Strategy (http://APO.af/rqouSo) for the continent to eliminate the current massive importation of food and transform its economies by targeting agriculture as a major source of economic diversification and wealth, as well as a powerful engine for job creation.

The initiative will implement 655 carefully considered actions that should result in almost 513 million tons of additional food production and lift nearly 250 million Africans out of poverty by 2025.

TAAT will execute bold plans to contribute to a rapid agricultural transformation across Africa through raising agricultural productivity along eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIAs).

The commodities value chains to benefit from this initiative are rice, cassava, pearl millet, sorghum, groundnut, cowpea, livestock, maize, soya bean, yam, cocoa, coffee, cashew, oil palm, horticulture, beans, wheat and fish.

“TAAT was born out of this major consultation and brings together global players in agriculture, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, World Food Programme, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Rockefeller Foundation and national and regional agricultural research systems, ” said AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, at a TAAT side event at the 2017 World Food Prize (http://APO.af/EXgmf3) in Des Moines, Iowa.

“It’s the biggest consolidation of efforts to accelerate agriculture technology uptake in Africa. Technology will address the variability and the new pests and diseases that will surely arise with climate change,” he said.

Adesina explained that TAAT would help break down decades of national boundary-focused seed release systems. Seed companies will have regional business investments, not just national ones, he said. “That will be revolutionary and will open up regional seed industries and markets.”

TAAT, he explained, is to be implemented through a collectively agreed central delivery platform, coordinated by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, with national, regional and international agricultural research centres.

“TAAT is a transformative and landmark partnership effort. The African Development Bank, World Bank, AGRA, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation intend to mobilize US $1 billion to help scale up technologies across Africa.”

The Director, External Communications in the African Region of the World Bank Group, Haleh Bridi, described TAAT as a regional technology delivery infrastructure for agriculture, linking countries across agro-ecological zones.

Bridi stressed that Africa can learn from Asia, which had made “amazing strides” in its agricultural revolution. “This is why we are involved in the TAAT programme,” she said to resounding applause.

The Director for Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nick Austin, said, “Technology obviously evolves the journey to prosperity, the way economies transform and the way small-holder farmers engage.”

“Locally, there are varieties. Locally, there are new technologies and solutions to small-holder farmers. We are in the position to play a key role in bringing the best technologies available and supporting new ways in delivering this to farmers. We are delighted and excited to be part of this initiative.”

The President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Agnes Kalibata, stressed that African governments should drive technological development in agriculture.

“What TAAT is going to have to do is work with the governments. We have lots of institutions that are ready for these technologies. We should work with governments to ensure that the technologies are not just ready to work, but become available to their country people. I think that ensuring that the farmers get all the technologies they need to is going to be very important,” she said.

The President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raj Shah, highlighted the impact of technology on agricultural yields.

For more on the World Food Prize/Borlaug Dialogue events: www.AfDB.org/2017wfp and www.WorldFoodPrize.org

#FoodPrize17

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media contacts:
Jennifer Patterson, Principal Communication Officer, tel. +225 75 75 04 58, J.Patterson@AfDB.org
Emeka Anuforo, Communication Officer, E.Anuforo@AfDB.org.

Source:: AfDB’s agricultural transformation strategy to guarantee 513 million tons of additional food production

      

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Adesina to set up fund for young farmers, agripreneurs with US $250,000 World Food Prize money

“I am proud as the Governor of Iowa State to proclaim Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.”

With these words, the Governor of the State of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, officially named President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina, as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate, on behalf of the World Food Prize Foundation, setting off an atmosphere of festive celebration at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines.

Accompanied by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and John Mahama, former President of Ghana, Adesina took elegant steps to the podium to receive the award – the world’s highest recognition for food and agriculture, with his wife Grace and his two children, Rotimi and Segun, and a large and distinguished crowd cheering him on. Representatives of the Nigerian Government, Purdue University, his alma mater, friends, associates and Bank staff were among the well-wishers who came in out in large numbers to celebrate the African agriculture icon, known as “Africa’s Norman Borlaug (http://APO.af/fTuEw7).”

In line with his avowed commitment to a new deal for youth empowerment, Adesina pledged devote the US $250,000 prize money to a fund in support of young African farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs.”

“And so, even though I don’t have the cash in my hand, I hereby commit my $250,000 as a cash prize for the World Food Prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture to feed Africa,” Adesina said.

“We will arise and feed Africa. The day is coming very soon when all its children will be well-fed, when millions of small-holder farmers will be able to send their kids to school,” Adesina said.

“Then you will hear a new song across Africa: ‘Thank God our lives are better at last.’”

The President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, paid tribute to Adesina, “whose breakthrough achievements have impacted millions of farmers and those living in rural poverty in Nigeria and throughout Africa, and whose leadership holds great promise for uplifting millions and millions more across that continent.”

In a speech at the colourful ceremony, the Vice-President of the United States of America, Michael Pence, commended the Laureate in a speech read on his behalf by Mark Green, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“As our global food system is stretched, and the need to feed more people grows, agricultural transformation will require persistence from leaders like you in driving change and capitalizing on public- and private-sector expertise,” Pence said.

The Vice-President described Adesina’s devotion to the cause of fighting global hunger as admirable, and deeply needed, and on behalf of President Donald Trump, extended heartfelt congratulations.

“The United States is and remains committed to food security, and we will continue to work with leaders like you to find innovative ways to end global hunger,” he said.

The Purdue University Glee Club and multiple award-winning all-female Nigerian signing group Adunni and Nefertiti set the mood of the evening with musical performances, followed by the star act: Omawumi, a popular Nigerian vocalist, who had flown in from Lagos for the occasion. The infectious rhythms of Adunni and Nefertiti and popular songs of Omawumi soon moved Adesina and his wife to get up on the dance floor, where they were joined by Obasanjo.

The evening was capped by an elegant award ceremony dinner in the Capitol Rotunda.

Under President Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy (http://APO.af/Qs73cE) with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years. The World Food Prize also recognizes Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development.

For more on the World Food Prize/Borlaug Dialogue events, please visit: https://www.AfDB.org/2017wfp and http://www.WorldFoodPrize.org

For more on President Adesina as the World Food Prize 2017 Laureate: http://bit.ly/2gamfWe

On Adesina as “Africa’s Norman Borlaug”: http://bit.ly/2l38OJl

Photos of the ceremony: https://www.flickr.com/photos/theworldfoodprize/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/afdbgroup/

#FoodPrize17

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media contacts:
Jennifer Patterson, Principal Communication Officer, tel. +225 75 75 04 58, j.patterson@afdb.org
Emeka Anuforo, Communication Officer, e.anuforo@afdb.org

About the African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
For more information: www.AfDB.org

Source:: Adesina to set up fund for young farmers, agripreneurs with US $250,000 World Food Prize money

      

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South Africa and Iran to Host Business Forum in Pretoria

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) together with their Iranian counterparts will host the South Africa-Iran Business Forum at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) offices in Pretoria on Monday, 23 October 2017 from 9am. The forum will be held on the margins of the Joint Commission co-chaired by the Minister of DIRCO, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her Iranian counterpart, Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif.

According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, the business forum will address amongst others trade, investment, economic development and industry related issues.

“The Middle East features as a pivotal trade and investment partner for South Africa and Iran in particular offers vast trade and investment opportunities for the South African businesses. Iran is the second largest economy in the Middle East region in terms of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) totalling US$438 billion in 2016 and the largest market in terms of population (80 million people). It ranks second in the world in terms of natural gas reserves and fourth in proven crude oil reserves,” says Davies.

Davies adds that the visit also affords South African firms an opportunity to network with key decision-makers from Iran, captivating on prospects and gains presented in both sides. He says the visit by Minister Zarif aims to build on the commitments made during the visit by President Jacob Zuma to Iran in 2016 and reinforcing discussions held by Senior Officials on 18 July 2017.

The Iranian delegation will consist of business representatives from the automotive, agriculture, agro-processing, mining, energy, pharmaceuticals and, oil and gas.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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Prevention of Torture: UN human rights body suspends Rwanda visit citing obstructions

The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has suspended a visit to Rwanda due to a series of obstructions imposed by authorities, such as accessing some places of detention, confidentiality of certain interviews and over concerns that some interviewees could face reprisals.

The delegation suspended the visit on day five of their planned seven-day mission because of Rwanda’s lack of cooperation which prevented the SPT from fulfilling its mandate under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). It is only the third time in 10 years that the SPT has suspended a mission.

“We have been barred from completing our work in some places, and grave limitations have been imposed on granting access to certain places of detention,” said Arman Danielyan, head of the SPT delegation. “We have also been unable to carry out private and confidential interviews with some persons deprived of their liberty. Moreover, many of those we have managed to interview have expressed fears of reprisals. We must not place the persons that have cooperated with us in danger,” he added.

The delegation concluded that the visit as a whole had been compromised to such an extent that it had to be suspended as the SPT mandate could not be effectively carried out.

Under the provisions of the OPCAT, the SPT is mandated to visit any of the 84 States parties to the Protocol and can make unannounced visits to any places where people are or might be detained; the visited country must grant the opportunity to the delegation to have private interviews with any persons deprived of their liberty, without witnesses.

The SPT mission to Rwanda had also been due to advise the authorities on the establishment of a national monitoring body, officially known as the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM), which according to the OPCAT should have a similar visiting mandate as that of the SPT and should have already been in place. The delegation also regrets that it was unable to meet with the relevant Parliamentary Committee in order to advise it on the draft NPM Law.

For the SPT, the key to preventing torture and ill-treatment lies in building constructive relations with the State concerned, and its guiding principles are cooperation and confidentiality.

“Now we call on the Government of Rwanda to further its cooperation with us and hope that it will abide by its international obligations in order to enter in a constructive dialogue with the SPT to enable us to resume our visit, including to advise on the establishment of an independent and effective National Preventive Mechanism in the country,” said the head of the delegation.

The SPT delegation comprised the following members: Mr. Arman Danielyan (Head of delegation, Armenia), Ms. Margarete Osterfeld (Germany), Mr. Kosta Mitrovic (Serbia), Ms. Zdenka Perovic (Montenegro) and Ms. Aneta Stanchevska (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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