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‘African govts must ramp up food production to eradicate poverty’

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PRESIDENT of the southern caucus at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe legislator, Auxillia Mnangagwa, has called on African governments to ramp up food production in order to eradicate poverty.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

In a paper presented at the weekend to PAP on African parliamentarians’ perspectives on the agricultural sector, Mnangagwa said given that 70% of the African population depended on agriculture for their well-being, it was important for governments to ensure that the sector is well supported.

“Around 70% of Africa’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods and well-being. Developing the agriculture sector represents one of our greatest needs and most significant opportunities,” she said.

Mnangagwa noted that poverty in African countries that have adequately supported agricultural development had significantly declined.

The report, titled Progress Towards an Agriculture Transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa, notes that “after decades of stagnation, much of Africa has enjoyed sustained agricultural productivity growth since 2005, and as a result, poverty rates have declined in places like Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso”.

The Zanu PF legislator called on parliamentarians to familiarise themselves with the Malabo Declaration and, where possible, domesticate its principles.

“Enact laws that promote equality of opportunity and ensure gender equality as well as creating social safety nets for the most vulnerable members of society,” Mnangagwa said.

“Mainstream gender issues in the National Budget, particularly the vote allocation on agriculture, so that the needs of women, youth and other vulnerable groups are taken into consideration.”

In order to improve agricultural investment, Mnangagwa said, new laws must be put in place.

“We must enact new laws and review existing laws that affect investment, particularly on issues related to tax incentives, land rights, security of tenure, access to water, the cost of doing business, and regional trade facilitation, and dispute resolution mechanisms,” she said.

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