A wide range of international leaders gathered in Brussels on 1 April, in recognition of the vital importance of Africa's agriculture. See below for a video résumé of the event itself.
The video features conversation from the CEO, Erastus Mwencha, Lucy Muchoki (CEO of the Kenyan Agribusiness and Agri-industry Alliance) and Steven Muchiri (Executive Director of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation)
The role of partnerships and the private sector were pivotal points in the conversations. The high-level dinner panel took place during the 4th Africa-EU Summit, and hosted senior representatives from EU institutions, national governments, farmers and farmers’ organizations, the private sector, associations, donors and development partners.
They discussed the opportunities for investment in African agriculture and the importance of building partnerships to increase productivity and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The dinner was hosted by the respected think-tank Friends of Europe. Speakers included Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development; Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD); Geoffrey Kirenga, CEO of Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT); and Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture.
“We need to make agriculture a business, because at the moment in Africa agriculture is simply for subsistence,” said Erastus Mwencha.
Yara supported the dinner and was represented by CEO Jørgen Haslestad. “Without having the international and local private companies involved, we will not be able to have the success which is needed,” he said.
The African Union has declared 2014 the year of agriculture and food security. The speakers and the audience addressed several questions, including multi-sectorial interventions, the role of the private sector and how African agriculture can benefit from initiatives such as ‘Grow Africa’.