Agriculture should not be isolated
Agriculture should not be treated in isolation if Africa is to realise the full potential of the sector to feed its billion people, said Tanzania’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mohamed Said Muya.
Interviewed at the FANRPAN annual dialogue in Dar es Salaam, he said all government sectors should be linked to agriculture because they are interdependent.
“For example, you need farmers to produce food but nutrition is also part of the health agenda,” said Muya. “You also need healthy farmers to be able to produce the food.”
Muya said governments need to invest in good road infrastructure which would reduce the costs of production so that food becomes cheaper. He said it was for that reason the government of Tanzania was committed towards implementing the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), an initiative endorsed by African heads of state in 2003 to boost agricultural activity.
Tanzania is a shining example in the implementation of CAADP after launching a 15-year agriculture investment plan, which is aligned to other national and regional policies including the SADC development plan and Millennium Development Goal One.
“All the government ministries, private sector, farmers and other non-governmental organisations should know the role that they have to play to promote agriculture,” said Muya.
However, observed Muya, very few Tanzanians are aware of the role CAADP has to play in policy formulation, which was why he said the FANRPAN CAADP multi-stakeholder meeting was important in creating awareness about the programme. “This is a useful forum for sharing among countries on the best practices for the implementation of CAADP,” said Muya.
FANRPAN CAADP programme manager Ian Mashingaidze could not agree more, adding that many African countries need to be assisted to take the CAADP process forward after signing the compacts. As a result, FANRPAN is helping non-state actors including farmers, academics, private sector and other members of civil society to participate in the CAADP process.
“In some countries, the government was running with the process without taking non-state actors on board,” said Mashingaidze. “As FANRPAN we say non-state actors have a big role to play in the CAADP agenda.” </>He said governments need the participation of the private sector through infrastructure investment in the implementation of CAADP. “We need the private sector to realise the long-term benefits of participating in CAADP because we know business is interested in the bottom line,” said Mashingaidze.
He agreed that many countries have a lot to learn from Tanzania in driving forward the CAADP agenda.