Farmers need to be ‘centre stage’

Speaking at the second Brussels Briefing on ‘Advancing African agriculture‘, Philipp Kiriro of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) welcomed the ‘triple A’ initiative by the European Commission. However, he reminded the audience that farmers need to be at centre stage in the implementation; advancing African agriculture need to be based on real partnership among the different actors.

While African agriculture is mainly small scale, it remains theprimary activity of the largest parts of the population. It is crucial to make it work, as this will bring “growth, poverty reduction, and other benefits.” To make it work however, African agriculture needs to be transformed.

This transformation, he said, requires that domestic and regional markets are targetted, especially accelerating regional integration and creating regional custom unions. Safety and quality standards also need to be improved, “for all consumers, not only for exports to European markets.” Efficiency and competitiveness are also critical. He argued that there nees to be ‘fair competition’ – and that this calls for protection and investments that can allow African agriculture to develop and compete in different markets.

Focusing on the farmers, Mr. Kiriro called for better organization: So far “we had it all wrong” and it is not possible to improve African agriculture if farmers themselves are not working together, discussing, and networking at national and regional levels. In most countries, some structures already exists, but there is much to do to create professional farmer organizations that can meaningfully participate in the CAADP/AAA processes.

Links:

Presentation

Summary of presentation (doc format)

See more from the 17 October briefing

 

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