03 Jul IAAS Africa: Third Online Debate Report
IAAS Africa organized it’s third online debate on topic ” Role of Agriculture on National Development on May 19,2018. The debate kicked off with a brief setting up of rules by our able moderating team of Mr Peter Nyateng [IAAS Kenya] and Stephanie Owembabazi [IAAS Uganda]. The countries that were represented in form active presentation includes: Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, South Africa, Ghana, Benin, Niger and DRC. Regional Director, Ms Chirry Laurine and Mr Brian Nyaundi, the Regional Communication Coordinator opened the debate with their statements.
Whatever and however way we may describe agriculture, it definitely has an impact on development at the end. Agriculture is the basic source of food supply for all the countries of the planet. Many countries of the world has immensely benefited from agriculture alone. Let’s take an example of Israel, which is a desert country but exporting food to other countries of the world and also whose GDP is extremely high as compared to other agriculture dependent countries. Developed economies were once predominantly dependent on agriculture whereas the emphasis of developing economies is being laid on agriculture. Agriculture contributes to economic development through many dimensions: Improving livelihoods of rural population, reduction of poverty, earning income and foreign exchange, employment opportunities and making country mentally as well as politically independent in terms of feeding its population. Agriculture plays an important role for transformation of natural environment into a cultural milieu. In Niger, Agriculture contributes 49% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is practiced by more than 1/3rd of the population, with about 15 million hectares of arable land. It isn’t unrealistic to estimate that over the next 25 years, Africa would be the bread basket of the world. Many governments in Sub-Saharan countries are designing their annual budget without a forward looking approach to agricultural development as an essential contribution to national development.
Indeed, Agriculture plays a major role when it can change the lives of rural farmers which aren’t the case of African continent all because of middle men and actors in the value chain not forgetting politicians who take advantage of the rural poor, who are mostly farmers. Commercial Agriculture is a source of employment to many livelihoods. In Kenya, Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd, Bidco, Syngenta, Amiran, Finlays and other companies has employed a larger population of Kenyans compared to Non-Agricultural companies. Obviously, agriculture is an important key to sustainable economic development, where most of the renewable resources are utilized. To make agriculture cooler than ever in terms of economic development, emphasis should be laid on creation of infrastructures; transportation, market and industries. We need to value human resources and potential productive capacities of the country. A strong upstream and downstream linkage within the rural sector and with other sectors of the economy also has a stimulating effect on economic growth and income generation. Attention should be paid on the development of ICTs infrastructures for impact in agriculture, especially rural development. We need to invest in our key agricultural commodities’ value chains and remain competitive. Youth involvement in agriculture will improve the economy because the youth/young graduate has learnt agriculture courses which have equipped him/her with knowledge which when applied on the field will get higher yield than the indigenous farmers. Let’s see agriculture as the most profitable work in the world, for our transformed economy. Cheers!!!