The commitment of African leaders on Agriculture for Women Empowerment and Development is the focus of the 11th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP) Partnership Platform (PP) Meeting holding in South Africa.
CAADP is an African-wide agenda designed to support the transformation of the continent’s agriculture for sustained food security and socio-economic growth.
The annual continental forum brings together more than 500 stakeholders in African agriculture – ranging from government, the private sector, international development agencies, the African Union, civil society and Regional Economic Communities.
“Our top challenge remains that of changing the lives of our farmers that will benefit all our fellow citizens by improving our collective food and nutrition security. And of course this can only happen by tapping into the potential of those who can most contribute to it. Our women have to be at the forefront,” says Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency.
The 11th CAADP Partnership Platform is being held in the context of the celebration of the year of women empowerment and after a landmark summit for African agriculture last year in Malabo.
The NEPAD Agency, as development agency of the African Union, is considered critical for addressing challenges of achieving the Malabo goals with particular attention for women.
Through the Malabo Declaration, a recommitment to CAADP made by Heads of States in 2014, the CAADP Partnership Platform also reaffirms the central role of farmers, men and women, as well as small-medium entrepreneurs as key players to foster decisions on matters of economic policy in Africa.
“By strengthening the position of farmers, women and youth in the value chains we should aim at reducing inequality and creating a more equitable society,” Dr Mayaki said.
Mrs Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, echoed Dr Mayaki by stating the CAADP has put in place several programmes on the ground that are yielding results, and are inclusive of African citizens.
In referring to the Malabo Declaration, Professor Edith de Vries, Director-General at the South African Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry emphaised that all stakeholders need to hold themselves accountable in CAADP for concrete results on the ground.
During a media briefing, Dr Mayaki stated that the energy so far focused on the remobilisation of African States towards participatory and improved planning processes in agriculture, resulting in the design of more than 40 investment plans, some of which were carried out at 100% with significant results.
Speaking on the role of women in agriculture, Mrs. Estherine Fotabong, NEPAD Director of Programmes, said that CAADP has allowed a more structured way of thinking and planning in the agricultural sector.
For Africa to achieve its full potential in agriculture and development, women have to be supported, encouraged and empowered through favourable policies, platforms and various mechanisms.