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Funding shortfall hampering efforts to transform Africa's agricultural sector: AU official
From:Xinhua  |  2020-02-07 22:48

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ADDIS ABABA, Feb.7 (Xinhua) -- A funding shortfall is hampering efforts to transform Africa's agricultural sector, an African Union (AU) official said on Friday.

A funding shortfall is hampering seven key commitments including ending hunger by 2025 pledge outlined under the Maputo and Malabo declarations, Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said at the sidelines of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

"Funding shortfall is hampering efforts to meet key agricultural sector commitments outlined under the 2003 Maputo declaration and the 2014 Malabo declaration."

"The two declarations aim at ending hunger in the African continent by 2025, but with only five years remaining until the target date, we're seeing malnutrition and hunger rates is increasing while progress to end these scourges is slow." said Sacko.

The Malabo declaration was reached in June 2014 by Africa's Heads of State in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on improvement of agricultural growth, transforming and improved livelihoods.

The declaration urged the setting up of an accountability system to track performance in the agricultural sector in African countries as originally envisioned under the 2003 Maputo declaration.

Sacko said increasing Africa's agricultural productivity by triple, as well as improving access to arable land for rural population in addition to boosting funding for agricultural initiatives can help end malnutrition and hunger in the continent.

"Africa has 60 percent of the world's arable land, but African countries still import 35 billion U.S. dollars of food items annually. Improving agricultural productivity is necessary if the continent's agricultural promise is to be realized," said Sacko.

Sacko also said the AU is contemplating new initiatives to boost funding for agricultural sector in the continent, as African countries struggle with the added challenge of climate change."

"The AU is contemplating establishing an African emergency fund to help African countries transition from their climate change vulnerable rain fed agriculture to modern agriculture," said Sacko.