CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE OF THE AFRICAN UNION
1-2 JULY 2003
II. OPENING CEREMONY
III. ORGANIZATION OF WORK
IV. ELECTION OF THE BUREAU
V. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
VI. CONSIDERATION OF THE AGENDA ITEMS
ANNEX: AU SUMMIT DECLARATION ON AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY ON AFRICA
1. Experts from Member States of the African Union met at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre, Maputo, Mozambique on 1st July 2003 to prepare for the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the African Union (AU) to be held on 2nd July 2003 at the same venue. The Experts were to discuss the state of agriculture and food security in Africa in 2003 and recommend actions that could be taken to enhance agriculture's contributions to economic growth, reduction of hunger and poverty as well as to sustainable food security. The meeting was also to focus on the operationalization of agriculture programmes under the AU programme, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
2. The Experts' work built upon earlier processes in the preparation and launching of the NEPAD Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), which was undertaken in close cooperation with the OAU, AU Commission, The Regional Economic Communities (RECs), FAO and other agencies between 2001 and 2003.
3. The meeting was attended by the following Member States of the AU: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
4. Representatives from Regional Economic Communities (ECCAS, SADC, COMESA, CEN-SAD, ECOWAS), United Nations Specialised Agencies (FAO, ECA), AU Commission, NEPAD Secretariat and other inter-governmental organizations; farmers/producers organizations and institutions in the private sector and Non-governmental and Civil Society Organizations also attended the meeting.
5. The Minister of Agriculture of Mozambique, His Excellency Helder Muteia formally inaugurated the Meeting, which was chaired by Dr. Ismail Abdel Galil Hussein of Egypt. The Interim Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture in the African Union, Ambassador Lawrence O.C. Agubuzu, also addressed the Opening Session.
6. In his opening statement, Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu, African Union (AU) Interim Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Rural Economy and Agriculture, welcomed delegates to the meeting of Experts, which he expected to lay the groundwork for the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture. He thanked the Government of Mozambique for the excellent facilities, which had been completed in time to host the important event, and for the traditional hospitality accorded to participants.
7. The Interim Commissioner alluded to the challenges facing Africa's agriculture and urged the Experts to devise policy options for the consideration of the Ministers. He underscored the seriousness of the food insecurity problem and the importance of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and its Plans of Action, which, if properly implemented, would ensure food security in Africa.
8. Mr. Agubuzu concluded his opening remarks by thanking the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the support it extended to the African Union to hold the meeting and in particular to Dr. Jacque Diouf, Director General of the FAO for his consistent concern for the deteriorating food situation in Africa and for his personal efforts to find durable solution to this problem.
9. Before calling on the guest of honour to formally open the meeting, the Chairman observed that Africa could only face the challenges of food shortages, lack of technology and other obstacles through close cooperation. He also called for an early implementation of the NEPAD and other programmes on food and agriculture.
10. H.E. Helder Muteia, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mozambique, in his keynote welcomed all participants and paid tribute to them for making efforts to attend the meeting. He underlined the fact that the meeting was being held at a critical period when the African continent was experiencing serious poverty, disasters and epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, which have considerable negative impacts on the agricultural production at the continental level. Africa, he said, was not benefiting from modern technological advances, a solution which needs to be reversed. Africa's import bill, he said, continued to increase while the export sector continued to fall, a situation he attributed to insufficient investment in the agricultural sector, fragile world markets and poor access to credit.
11. Mr. Muteia underlined the importance of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) for contributing to meeting the objectives of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and those of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The efforts of African governments to meet the goals of NEPAD, especially through the Abuja Declaration were underlined. In that context, the most important challenges facing Africa were to increase areas of low or under cultivation, for increased production and productivity; water management; reduced hunger and reduced impact of natural calamities.
12. Mr. Muteia concluded by thanking all the participants for their commitment. He also thanked the AU Commission and the FAO for assisting in the organization of the meeting.
13. The meeting adopted the following working hours:
Morning: - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m
Afternoon: - 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
14. The meeting approved by acclamation the following Bureau:
15. The Meeting considered and adopted the following Agenda:
|b)||Organization of Work|
|c)||Election of the Bureau|
|d)||Adoption of the Agenda|
|2.||The State of Food and Agriculture in Africa 2003.||AU/MIN/AGRI/3(I)|
|3.||Responding to Agricultural and Food Insecurity Challenges: Mobilising Africa to implement NEPAD Programmes||AU/MIN/AGRI/4(I)|
|4.||The Process of Converting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to Implementable Plans of Action at National and Regional Levels||AU/MIN/AGRI/5(I)|
|5.||Presentation and discussions of Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre||AU/MIN/AGRI/6(I)|
|6.||Other Related Matters|
|7.||Consideration of the Draft Report of the Experts Meeting, including the Declaration|
|8.||Adoption of the Report of the Experts Meeting, including Declaration|
16. In his presentation, the FAO representative briefed the Meeting on the importance and state of agriculture and food security in Africa. The presentation noted that agriculture dominates the economies of most African countries, employs about 60 percent of the population and contributes 20 per cent to the continent's export earnings. Despite this, the sector continued to be in crisis as manifested by low productivity. The latter contributed to the repeated famines and the high level of dependence on food aid. The representative also pointed to the continuing decline of Africa's share in global production and markets, a situation, which has undermined the continent's ability to influence world agricultural, trade and commodity policies and prices.
17. Furthermore, the FAO representative noted that Africa continued to allocate limited public and private resources to agriculture, resulting in the continent lagging behind other regions in terms of irrigated arable land, value added per worker, levels of fertilizer use, and productivity of both crops and livestock. Due to the under-performance of the agriculture sector, Africa continued to exhibit major economic failings, as witnessed by the over 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living on less than US$1 per day; widespread undernourishment; stark dependence on external food-aid; net importation of agricultural products since 1980, with an annual food import bill of US$19 billion; a halving of the continent's share of world agricultural exports from 8 per cent in 1971 - 1980 to only 3.4 percent in 1991-2000.
18. An Expert of the African Union Commission presented proposals for decisive response to the crisis situation of food security and agriculture in Africa. He drew the attention of the meeting to the inadequacy of actions undertaken to date, which had left Africa unable to feed itself and to achieve once again the net - food and agricultural exporter position it used to enjoy before 1980. Several reasons were advanced for this inadequacy, including: weaknesses of institutions, limited investment; frequent policy changes; and relative marginalisation of agriculture among national priorities. In the context of economic liberalization and structural adjustment, there was evidence of large-scale withdrawal of governments from supporting agriculture, which was making the sector unattractive particularly for private investors.
19. The AU Commission representative underlined that the NEPAD agriculture programme and its action plans was a framework for response, which focused on actions that could most quickly reverse the crisis. The proposals for response presented in the paper paid particular attention to mobilizing Africa for action under two main headings:
20. Concluding, the representative of the AU Commission stressed the urgency to address Africa's dire situation, if the spectre of continued dependence on food aid was to be averted.
21. An Expert from the NEPAD Secretariat presented the process, outcomes, situation and way forward regarding the preparation of an Action Plan for implementing the CAADP. He noted that the process of preparing CAADP benefited from inputs from Experts, Regional Economic Communities and Organizations (RECs) and (REOs), Farmers and international organizations. The entire CAADP programme, he said calls for investment totaling some US$251 billion, out of which US$15.6 billion represented the cost of the first launch of projects. He stressed the need for further stepwise and progressive preparation of other programmes and for implementation at both national and sub-regional levels.
22. The NEPAD representative then proposed the following criteria for selecting NEPAD programmes and projects; namely that they should:
23. In preparing the Action Plans, the following guiding principles should be underlined:
24. In presenting the above programme, the Coordinator of the Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics (PACE) alluded to the importance of livestock for economic development of African countries and to its considerable potentialities, emphasizing that Africa was a net importer of livestock products. He informed the meeting of the activities of the AU's Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (IBAR) relating to the development of animal resources in Africa, and the implementation of livestock initiatives. The present focus of IBAR was on the promotion of trade in livestock and livestock products, both for domestic use and export, as well as for improving livestock productivity. He emphasized the need for a more concerted effort to develop more effective control strategies against major animal diseases, including harmonization of the African standards through institutions like the AU's Pan-African Vaccine Institute (PANVAC). He recommended that IBAR should be supported to continue to coordinate and develop programmes for animal resources initiatives arising from the AU Commission and NEPAD.
25. In the discussion that followed, a delegation called for an early conclusion of the Agreement on the hosting of PAN-VAC in order for PACE to extend its services to all regions of the Continent.
26. The Coordinator of the Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC) project, at the Commission of the African Union, recalled that the OAU Heads of State adopted a decision in Togo, in July 2000, to eradicate tsetse flies in Africa, which are a threat to human and animal health, and the cause of significant economic loss in the continent. Due to the trans-boundary nature of tsetse infestation, and the lack of appropriate drugs to treat the diseases caused by it, Africa's only option to address the problem is to eradicate the fly. He informed the meeting that successful eradication had been achieved in Zanzibar, and that the challenge facing the continent now was to replicate that success in other infested sub-Saharan African countries. The meeting was further informed about countries that had initiated tsetse eradication process and others, which had developed plans to initiate similar projects.
27. In the ensuing discussion, delegations raised serious concern about agricultural subsidies by developed countries and the distortions that they caused to Africa's agricultural trade. Structural adjustment programmes imposed on Africa, which only helped to divert resources from the sector, have compounded the situation. The need for increased investment in the sector, not only by the public sector but also particularly by the private sector, was emphasized. The meeting noted that the low investment in the sector has contributed to the current high spate of rural-urban drift, with its attendant negative impact on agricultural production. In view of the current situation in the agriculture sector, delegates underscored the need to create an enabling environment in order to make agriculture more productive and profitable. The meeting stressed the crucial issue of ownership of the agriculture programme by the countries, and the need for governments to give all necessary support to the prgramme through budgetary allocation and strong political commitments.
28. It was observed that restrictions on the free movement of citizens and goods impeded the promotion of agricultural trade in the continent. The programme on agricultural intensification and diversification should be extended to all regions in Africa. Delegations called for the establishment of regional strategic food reserves and infrastructure to address food shortages during emergency. In this context, regular dissemination of information on the food and agriculture situation in the various regions of the continent should be given due attention. The need for effective mobilization of resources for the early implementation of programmes on food and agriculture, and to monitor the level of resources mobilized from time to time was underlined. Emphasis was also placed on quality self-financing in the first place, before resorting to pledging conferences.
29. With regard to response to the agricultural and food security crisis facing Africa, the Meeting considered the proposed measures in the NEPAD CAADP as appropriate to address the dire state of food and agriculture in the Continent. It welcomed the focus on what Africa could do for itself, despite a hostile international environment for agriculture and agricultural trade. Furthermore, the Meeting agreed on the necessity to mobilize all key actors such as the Member States of the AU, RECs/REOs, the private sector, farmers' organizations and civil society in the implementation of the NEPAD Agricultural Programme.
30. It was considered important for all countries to integrate the NEPAD programme within the framework of their own poverty reduction and food security strategies. This would require preparation of proactive national plans of action for the implementation of NEPAD agricultural programmes, providing for prominent roles of the private sector and civil society, while increasing domestic resources allocated to the agriculture sector.
31. With regard to the NEPAD "Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme" the meeting agreed that long-term policy and institutional changes were needed but that while pursuing those, renewal of agriculture would require immediate action under the mutually supportive pillars of the CAADP.
32. The meeting called on all Member States and Organizations wishing to do so to submit written comments on the documents that had been considered by the Experts with a view to ensuring that they are more complete and reflective of the situation in all African countries.
33. The meeting recommended that the Ministers of Agriculture should:
34. The African Union Commission and the Regional Economic Communities are strongly encouraged to help focus Africa's energies and investments on the agricultural and food development in the continent. In this regard, they should promote early convergence among governments around the selected priority opportunities of strategic importance for food security, and for export development, in order to achieve for Africa the international recognition as agricultural producer, processor and trader.
35. The Meeting appealed to the private sector and producer organizations in Africa to cooperate with governments in targeting the agricultural sector for sustained investment, to engage in policy dialogue aimed at creating conditions conducive to private sector activity in agriculture, and to assist in organizing farmers and strengthening their capacity for effective participation in agricultural endeavours.
36. The Meeting also appealed to the international community to strengthen partnership with Africa and to support materially and financially the NEPAD agricultural programme as a framework for Africa-led action.
37. The Meeting then considered and, after some amendment, adopted its Report including the recommendations for consideration by Ministers.
38. The meeting expressed its profound appreciation and gratitude to the Government and people of Mozambique for the warm hospitality extended to all delegations and for the excellent facilities provided. It also congratulated the Chairperson and the Bureau for the able manner in which they had guided deliberations during the session.
39. In declaring the meeting closed, the Chairperson expressed appreciation to all delegations for the support rendered to him and for the important recommendations which had been formulated for consideration by the Ministers.