FORMER United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged governments in Africa to commit themselves to achieving food security as that helps avoid internal conflicts.
Annan said this at a press briefing in Arusha, Tanzania on the sidelines of African Green Revolution in Forum (AGRF) where governments and the private sector have gathered to recognise and celebrate agricultural progress so far made.
"Food shortage provokes riots. If we [African Governments] can produce enough food, we may be able to avert potential conflicts and move forward," said Annan, who is also chairperson of Agra.
He further reminded governments about the need to commit at least 10 percent of their annual budget towards agriculture as agreed at the Maputo Declaration.
Annan urged the G8 countries, which he admitted do not always honour their pledges when it comes to helping out African countries, to honour their promises especially in their aid towards agricultural development.
On her part, Melinda Gates, a co-founder and co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which founded Agra along with Rockefeller Foundation, said she was
impressed with the way smallholder farmers in Africa are adapting to climate change.
"African farmers are taking risks in trying new varieties of crops in their attempt to adapt to the changing climatic conditions. I'm very much impressed with the achievements so far made," Gates said.
Earlier in the day, Annan and Gates toured a commercial village which is part of the Cassava Village Processing Programme, an initiative that is supported by Agra and implemented by Farm Concern International in Eastern Africa.
AGRF has brought together hundreds of stakeholders to recognise and celebrate the progress that has been delivered, thanks to African leadership to date and the continuing investments in agriculture needed to build self-sufficient and more prosperous societies for the long term.
The overall focus of the forum is dedicated to improving the life of the farmer so that she can become more self-sufficient and empowered to reduce hunger and poverty in her community.