African Development Bank, partners relaunch agriculture platform

The African Development Bank  (AfDB.org), the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have relaunched a platform to assist African agriculture ministers and other key stakeholders to promote strong growth in agricultural production and value addition in their countries.

The partners launched the new Leadership for Agriculture (L4AG) Forum on 2nd September 2019, during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).

Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who delivered the keynote address told attendees the platform was an important tool for learning lessons from each other, “but most importantly, to help move us to a more dynamic agriculture.”

 “Countries spend so much money on food subsidy programs and would like to see better yields. At the end of the day, we would like to have a clear program to address agriculture efficiently and sustainably,” said Dr. Martin Fregene, African Development Bank Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry.

“Agriculture has to be private sector led, and it is expected to reach $1 trillion dollars…therefore the government should reduce investment risks and improve management of policy environment to ensure that agriculture thrives,” Fregene added.

This year’s AGRF brought together more than 2,000 policy, decision makers and technocrats from Africa’s agricultural sector.

The L4AG Forum is a unique platform for public and private sector leaders to interact learn from each other and strategize on how to overcome challenges hampering agricultural and economic growth on the continent.

The new L4AG will seek commitment on solutions. As such, future forums will be tailor-made to directly respond to demand by countries – focusing on what countries are really struggling with to implement effectively and get desired results.

During a series of presentations and roundtable discussions, participants shared experiences challenges and opportunities in various ICT-led agricultural subsidy distribution programs as well as lessons learned in implementing programs proven to increase crop yields, farm productivity and incomes for farmers. 

Nick Austin, Director of Agricultural Development with the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said the organization is committed to supporting governments create an enabling environment to develop broad-based agricultural plans, despite the challenges posed by planning  and monitoring.

He said: “The needs and priority of countries can vary but we can learn from one another and avoid mistakes of the past. We need to seek insights, find solutions, understand what works, looking for a module for success and avoid the usual pitfalls.”

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