Putting agriculture sector at the centre stage of the continent’s development has the power to shape Africa’s economic future . This is according to President Paul Kagame.
The Rwandan President was speaking, yesterday, at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi, Kenya, during a panel session alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rhoda Tumusiime, the African Union commissioner for rural development and agriculture.
“African countries ought to view the agriculture sector not only as a sector in their economies but as the backbone of their economies and agent for transformation,” said Mr. Kagame. According to him, this can be achieved by linking the sector to other priority sectors that also have an impact on transforming the continent’s economy. and also by increasingly involving young people and women in the sectors value chain.
“Technology is important and practical when applied to assist with something. Technology has brought about awareness and also increased the value of the output. Modernisation of agriculture is key. We have to make it much more than subsistence. By learning from past trends in the sector and avoiding repetition of old cycles, agriculture can undergo a revolution, increasing its productivity and impact on the continent. Let’s stop talking a lot about things and just do them. Let’s do more action and less speeches” added the President.
Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Tonny Nsanganira, the minister of state for agriculture, said, at the forum, Rwanda would share experience with other countries on the transformation process. Nsanganira said Rwanda was out to attract members of the private sector from across the world to be part of the agriculture transformation process.
“We are here to try and attract the private sector to be part of the process and building on the foundation which government has invested in other the past years,” he said.
The progress achieved over the years in the sector, he said had been courtesy of good leadership, good policies and the conditions of business environment to attract the private sector.
Kenya’s President Kenyatta said the incorporation of technology into the agriculture sector would see farmers access better markets and rid themselves of exploitation by middlemen. He added that governments alone cannot transform the sector without the partnership and support of the private sector members who he called to view the sector as a business.
“Together, we must make bigger and bolder steps in understanding the importance of agriculture in our continent,” Kenyatta said.