Khartoum - Undersecretary of the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Ali Gaddom stressed the importance of convening of the Third Africa-Arab Ministerial
Conference on Agricultural Development and Food Security in Khartoum under the current regional and international challenges and climate change.
Addressing the opening session of the conference in Khartoum on Monday, the Undersecretary lauded the efforts being exerted by the African Union to boost agriculture to realize food security and achieve comprehensive development through the joint plan of action that aims at realizing stability on the continent.
He called for mobilizing collective efforts and integrating of visions with the African and Arab institutions for the utilization of the vast natural resources Sudan is endowed with, especially that Sudan is among the three countries that are expected to serve as the food basket of the world.
The representative of the African Union Commission, on her part, said agriculture constitutes the source of living for more than 60% of the populations in African countries and represents 50% of the GDP.
She referred to the Comprehensive Agriculture Development Programme, calling for allocating 10% of the budgets of countries for the agricultural sector.
The African Union official reaffirmed commitment the of African countries to boosting and harmonizing policies for increasing investments in countries, referring to the need for concluding inter-state agreements to develop agriculture and open the doors for investments.
She went on to say that, they are pressing ahead with the implementation of the Comprehensive Development Programme, noting that the countries that committed themselves to the programme have achieved big economic growth.
The AU official reviewed the challenges facing the Comprehensive Development Programme for agricultural development in Africa, including the wave of drought that hit many countries and a shortage of funding; it called for giving due concern to trade and investment as the pillars of the agricultural sector.
Furthermore, she called for a mobilizing of collective efforts by Arab and African countries to increase the rates of agricultural investments, which contribute to the alleviation of poverty and the realizing food security.
The Director General of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) Tariq Alzedjali, for his part, called for enhancing cooperation among states especially in the fields of agriculture and food security.
He said the challenges facing the realization of sustainable food security in the Arab and African countries are still big, pointing out that the high speed of demographic growth in Africa necessitates shifting from the traditional system of agricultural production to a modern one of higher productivity.
Regarding Arab countries, he said the food gap is still around 33.5 billion dollars, calling for Afro-Arab cooperation and integration to boost agricultural production, stressing the importance of utilization of resources to gurantee food security for states.
Arab and African countries have given a high priority to agriculture development and food security in their developmental policies, he said, stressing the importance of directing more investments to the agricultural sector.
He urged the Arab and African countries to map out a package of measures towards agricultural development and food security including facilitation of the of movements of capitals, transparency of the tax system, removal of administrative constraints, simplifying land allocation procedures and formation of partnerships.
The Director General referred to the importance of the coordination of Afro-Arab efforts at the level of implementation of the sustainable development goals endorsed by the United Nations.