The Gambia, through the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday December 17th 2019, hosted the 5th Malabo/Montpellier Forum under the theme: "Energized policy innovations to power the transformation of Africa's agriculture and food system."
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the Forum, the Minister of Agriculture Amie Fabureh said; "The importance of the forum cannot be overemphasized given the policy directions and guidance enshrined in the AU Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Malabo Declaration for the achievement of food and nutrition security across the African continent." She continued: "We must endeavor to fulfill our commitments to these noble ideals and move the agricultural development agenda to the level it deserves so as to make it an engine of economic growth to improve livelihoods, and a source of jobs for our teeming youth population".
She noted that with respect to the Malabo Declaration of committing 10% of our national budgets to agriculture, the biennial report has so far indicated that a good number of our countries lag behind in this effort; that "we must make sincere efforts to change this trend."
Agric. Minister Fabureh said: "Under the auspices of AU/NEPAD, we have been working on the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) through our various regional economic communities that has culminated in the mobilization of resources in the Regional and National Agricultural Investment Plans".
She said the theme for the Forum is quite appropriate in their drive to achieve food security and meaningful agricultural development that will help in changing the lives of farmers and in boosting economic growth.
She continued: "The energy requirements necessary to boost agricultural development cannot be under estimated. Yet we must be mindful of the negative impact of climate change due to our utilization of fossil fuel products in energy generation and distribution".
Minister Fabureh said it is imperative that they come up with renewable energy innovative solutions and climate smart approaches to forge ahead; that given the level of expertise available with respect to the Malabo/Montpellier panel, she is hopeful that participants will produce quality report relating to the theme of the Banjul edition of the Forum.
She implored on participants to put all hands on deck in adopting and implementing the policy measures proposed.