Experts gather in Zambia to deliberate on measures to unlock Africa's agricultural sector-Xinhua

Experts gather in Zambia to deliberate on measures to unlock Africa's agricultural sector

Source: Xinhua| 2023-06-02 00:33:45|Editor: huaxia

LUSAKA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- A high-level dialogue meeting on Thursday opened in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, with the aim of discussing challenges that have affected agricultural development in Africa and finding solutions to unlock the sector.

The two-day Africa Agricultural Policy Leadership Dialogue has attracted 28 finance and agriculture ministers from Africa, officials from the World Bank and the African Union (AU) as well as industry experts.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said at the start of the meeting that despite agriculture being a major source of livelihood and income in Africa, its performance has continued to be affected by numerous challenges.

Africa's agricultural sector, he said, faces challenges such as low levels of mechanization and irrigation, limited access to affordable agricultural finance and credit as well as slow investment in research and development initiatives.

He expressed happiness that the meeting was being held at a time when most African countries have embarked on much-needed policy and regulatory reforms aimed at ensuring food sufficiency, improved livelihoods as well as food and nutrition security.

"This dialogue will, therefore, give us an opportunity to begin to deliberate on the required actions and agricultural policy reforms which will unlock the continent's vast potential, and ensure that Africa becomes a major force in the production and supply of food and non-food commodities," he said.

According to him, Africa has not been spared and has felt the impact of rising food and commodity prices arising from the shocks and uncertainties in the global supply chains of essential commodities, adding that statistics show that more than 140 million people in Africa suffer from acute food insecurity.

The Zambian president said there was a need to reverse the trend and ensure that the majority of the people have access to affordable, nutritious and safe food as well as improved livelihoods.

He has since called on African countries to come up with smart policies and investments which will stimulate growth and inclusive participation in the agricultural value chain.

World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa Victoria Kwakwa said Africa has the potential to feed itself and export to the rest of the world. She, however, suggested that African countries should add value to agricultural products instead of exporting them in raw form.