26 September 2012

Tanzania: High Profile Forum On Agriculture Starts

Arusha — THE high-profile African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) starts here on Wednesday with President Jakaya Kikwete expected to give a keynote address.

A statement issued here said that President Kikwete and retired United Nations Secretary General Dr Koffi Annan will co-chair the meeting.

According to Ms Sylvia Mwichuli, AGRF's Communications and Public Affairs Director, the meeting to be held at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge will end on Friday.

The meeting brings together African Heads of State, ministers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, farmers, NGOs, civil society organizations and scientists to discuss and develop concrete Investment plans for scaling agricultural development success in Africa.

Tanzania will welcome notable guests including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates, IFAD President Dr Kanayo Nwanze, Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Dr Akinwumi Adesina, World Food Prize Laureate Prof. Gebisa Ejeta, and Yara International President & CEO Jørgen Ole Haslestad.

The meeting has been touted as the next milestone in developing African-led food security solutions. Ms Sylvia Mwichuli, said AGRF 2012 builds on recent momentum to tackle global food security. "The forum sets the stage for African ownership in the next phase of scaling agricultural development solutions and steering investment to build a sustainable food secure future," she said.

The discussions will involve issues on the scaling of investment and innovation for sustainable agricultural growth and food security.

President Kikwete keynote address will be on 'Realizing the potential of African Agriculture, a shift in mindset - agriculture' as a target for investments.

The conference will also address one of the most pressing challenges facing agricultural development in Africa is the need for affordable financing along value chains, including for smallholder agriculture. Most experts agree that sufficient funds are available, especially with private-sector involvement, but attracting more private sector funds into agri-food chains on affordable terms is a challenge, primarily because of the perceived high risks associated with agriculture.

Addressing this challenge requires policies and innovative partnerships that can change incentives and leverage private sector resources along value chains, including for smallholder farmers. Complementing the plenary session on public-private partnerships, this session will focus on concrete examples and best practice for operationalizing public-private partnerships in rural finance in order to achieve transformational and sustainable economic growth and improve rural livelihoods.

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