African leaders call for efforts to increase agricultural productivity, including biotech

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African ministers and business leaders have gathered in Ethiopia to consider ways to trigger a green revolution and improve the continent’s food security.

The African Green Revolution Forum, being held in Addis Ababa, will focus on delivering agriculture-led economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. In June, the Africa Union issued a declaration to double food productivity and halve poverty by 2025.

“Africa’s smallholder farmers produce the vast majority of food grown on the continent and they are the backbone of a sector that employs more than 65 percent of all Africans,” observed Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) chairman Strive Masiyiwa. “So when businesses, governments, researchers and farmers work together to strengthen our food production and distribution systems, they are seeking commercial success that will be shared across African society — and particularly for the poorest among us.”

It was a view echoed in a recent report by the UK-based international affairs think-tank Chatham House, which concluded that increasing agricultural productivity and adapting farming to climate change were central to Africa’s development prospects. The report’s authors said a key challenge was to attract funding for biotechnology projects on staple crops, such as cassava, which were often ignored by commercial funders because they had a limited market, the authors suggested.

Read the full, original article: Green revolution meeting considers Africa’s food future

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