Last week, we launched our pan-African campaign DO AGRIC at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
We were joined by popular Nigerian music artist D’banj, the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture from Mali, Benin and Niger, farmer organisations and several partners.
I was particularly inspired by a successful youth female farmer from Uganda – Elizabeth Nsimadala – who told the audience, “I am a proud successful farmer; I am above the salary scale of public sector servants in Uganda. I do agriculture not only because it pays, but because I can do it better.”
DO AGRIC is about African leaders deciding to create millions of Elizabeths after years of neglecting the agriculture sector. We know that this is possible because growth in agriculture is 11 more effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.
We’re asking millions of African citizens to come together and demand our leaders keep the promise they have made to invest 10% of budgets in agriculture, and do more to support smallholder farmers.
D’ banj was there in person to kick off the campaign by being the first person to the petition. Listen to him talking about why young people should be looking to agriculture for a career on BBC Africa.
African Footballer of the Year for three years running and Manchester City player, Yaya Touré, echoed the call to action in a public service announcement filmed for the launch.
In Addis Ababa, the campaign launched at a joint event hosted by the Pan-African Farmers Organization (PAFO), ActionAid International, ONE, ACORD International, Oxfam and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. It brought together policy makers, multilateral institutions, the private sector, agriculture experts and regional and national farmer organisations from the east, west, and southern regions of Africa.
Participants in the bilingual forum discussed a set of 10 recommendations for how investment in agriculture could be boosted by a mix of public and private sector investment as well as policy reforms that benefit smallholder farmers. These recommendations were presented to the African Union commission, along with a petition from PAFO, at a high level session where DO AGRIC was also on the agenda.
It was great to see such diverse organisations agreeing to send a common message to the African Union. ONE’s new report, Ripe for Change, documents the development impacts of agriculture investments across Africa and actively contributed to these joint recommendations.