President William Ruto and other African heads of state have secured Ksh1.2 trillion in funding at the ongoing Dakar 2 Summit – Feed Africa, Senegal.
Ruto noted the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is backing the summit, has committed $10 billion(Ksh1.2 trillion) over the next five years to support development in food and agriculture across the continent.
“We are grateful to the African Development Bank which has pledged to invest Ksh1.2 trillion in food production in Africa.
“There exists huge opportunities for the partnerships that will enable us to undertake large agricultural projects because of the increasing demand for food,” Ruto said.
Ruto, who was a keynote speaker at the Dakar 2 Summit on Food, Sovereignty and Resilience, also challenged the Private Sector to complement Government programmes so as to stimulate sustainable agricultural production.
“There exists massive opportunities for public-private partnerships to undertake large agricultural projects in Kenya owing to the declining food production at a time demand is rising. These opportunities including investments in actual production, farm input supply, and irrigation will meet our need for adequate production,” the president stated.
President Ruto also challenged his fellow African leaders to take the discourse on agriculture beyond production to value addition and manufacturing.
He said Africa has the potential to produce surplus food for export adding that this can generate more income and create jobs, especially for the youth.
According to him, these are the initiatives that will transform Africa.
“We should not be discussing food 60 years after independence.“
In panel discussion of 10 Heads of State and Governments, President Ruto said the upscaling of agriculture in the continent would require the right input, technology, enhanced irrigation and mechanization.
“Young people are also critical in the revival of our agriculture. Crucially, the greater the infusion of technology, the better the returns.”
Ruto further warned against depedence on rain-fed agriculture saying many countries in Africa experience hunger due to this.
Irrigation, the President explained, will assure Africa of enough food for consumption and export.
“There is no magic to enhanced agricultural production; more fertilizer use translates to more production.”
On his part, the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina called on Africa to utilize its huge arable land to feed itself.
“What Africa does with agriculture today will determine the future of food security in the world,” he noted.
“Africa must feed itself,” Adesina added.