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Bamako, Mali, 31 January – 1 February 2006

1. Background

The African Union Conference for Ministers of Agriculture recognized and reiterated the importance of agriculture and the need for Africa to utilize its full potential to increase its food and agricultural production so as to guarantee sustainable food security and ensure economic prosperity for its peoples. The conference recalled the numerous decisions and initiatives adopted by the African Heads of State and Government to address the situation.These include: (i) the preparation of the “Status of Food Security Report” that would be presented to the Assembly every July; (ii) the integration of the Implementation of the Sirte Declaration on Agriculture and Water with the Comprehensive Africa’s Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to be reported to the 9th Executive Council in July 2006; (iii) the request to define, in collaboration with Member States and the NEPAD Secretariat, the core areas of agriculture and rural development relevant to the 10 percent budget allocation and report regularly.

The convening of the current Conference of the AU Ministers of Agriculture from 31 January to 1 February 2006 in Bamako, Mali, is to consider and discuss the reports that have been prepared by the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Secretariat in accordance with the request of the Assembly.

2. Participation

The Following Member States of the African Union participated in the Conference: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In addition, the following agencies, organizations and institutions also participated in the Conference: NEPAD, COMESA, ECCAS, ECOWAS, SADC, AMU, CILSS, UEMOA, FARA, FAO, IFAD, IFDC, IFPRI, UNECA, WFP.

3. Election of Bureau

The Chair for the opening session called on the bureau as constituted in the recent AU summit in Khartoum to preside over the meeting.

Chair: Republic of Congo
1st Vice Chair: Sudan
2nd Vice Chair: Egypt
3rd Vice Chair: Namibia
Rapporteur: Mali

4. Consideration of the Report of Experts

Following the presentations and discussions the conference made the following recommendations.

5.1 Status of Food Security in Africa

The conference reviewed the regional trend of the food security situation and noted that although the percentage of undernourished people in Africa decreased by two percent (from 29 to 27 percent), the absolute number increased by 20 percent (from 176 to 210 million people) over the period 1990/92 to 2000/02. The conference also noted that the rates for undernourishment in the various regions were 4% in North Africa, 16% for West Africa, 40% for Southern and East Africa and 55% for Central Africa.

The serious challenges posed to food security by factors such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, natural and man-made disasters especially conflicts and civil unrest were acknowledged.

The Conference recalled the World Food Summit and MDG objectives of reducing hunger and malnutrition by half by the year 2015; and noted that currently there are many countries in Africa facing serious food shortages especially in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and some countries in Southern Africa.;

The conference deliberated extensively on some strategic initiatives being undertaken at different levels to increase food production including use of irrigation, fertilizer, improved seeds, agricultural implements, research and extension, developing market infrastructure and trade; improving agricultural financing. The conference reached a consensus on the importance of coordinating and aligning these food security initiatives and called for the speedy implementation of effective response to combat the situation at the national, regional, and continental levels. Member States and the Regional Economic Communities were particularly urged to develop intra and inter-regional trade in food products particularly from food surplus to deficit zones. The Conference recommended strengthening the capacity of the African Union Commission in order to improve coordination of initiatives in the area of food security at the continental and sub-regional level.

6.1 CAADP - Sirte Implementation

The conference reiterated the urgent need to respond to Africa’s critical problems of hunger, poverty and disease by employing innovative complementary and comprehensive approaches aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and growth.

The conference referred the decisions the African Heads of State and Government adopted on the Comprehensive Africa’s Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of AU/NEPAD in Maputo in 2003, as a framework for the restoration of agriculture sector development in Africa and noted that the Sirte Declaration on the Challenges of Implementing Integrated and Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Water in Africa reaffirms the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa and complements the CAADP framework. The conference expressed concern at the duplication of efforts and non coherence in implementing the CAADP and the Sirte Declarations by the NEPAD Secretariat and AU Commission respectively.

The Conference recognized the progress made by many Member States in the development of National Medium-Term Investment (NMTIPs) and Bankable Investment Project Profiles within the framework of CAADP. The conference urged Member States to accelerate implementation of CAADP by adopting the NMTIPs and BIPPs and include them in their National Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks and to ensure funding from domestic budgets, savings resulting from debt relief, and, where appropriate, resources mobilized from bilateral and multilateral donors. The African Union Commission was urged to play the leadership role to coordinate the implementation of CAADP-Sirte and support the NEPAD Secretariat and RECs to plan, assess and monitor the progress at continental, regional and national level. The conference further requested the African Union Commission, NEPAD and the RECs to assist Member States in advocating and mobilizing resources for implementing the national programmes as well as monitoring the progress.

6.2 Progress Report on CAADP Implementation with emphasis on Country Level Activities:

6.2.1 Natural resource management

The conference recognized the importance of water, land and fisheries resources for food production and income generation and urged Member States with irrigation potential to take advantage of the African Water Facility hosted by the African Development Bank and World Bank. Member States were encouraged to mobilize matching resources to upscale successful experiences in sustainable land management and other natural resources within the TerrAfrica initiative.

After acknowledging the fragile food security and poor nutrition in the continent; and Recognizing the importance of agribusiness and infrastructure in the promotion of food security and income generation, the Conference urged Member States to implement policies and programs that support small scale farmers and the expansion of agribusiness activities, including contract farming for smallholder farmers.

The conference called for a special attention to be given to the national and regional infrastructure development to facilitate marketing of agricultural products and the expansion of trade in food markets. The development and strengthening of the existing food reserve systems, including market information systems, weather based production insurance schemes should also be addressed.

On Research and technology transfer, the conference recognized the importance of agricultural research, technology dissemination and transfer and called on regional economic communities and Member States to realign their regional and national research priorities to the Framework for Africa Agricultural Productivity (FAAP) within the broader CAADP framework with the support and collaboration of FARA.

Agriculture Expenditure Tracking System (10% Budget)

The conference considered the outcome of the AU/NEPAD experts’ consultative workshops held on the Agriculture Expenditure Tracking System within the context of the Maputo Declaration on the commitment of Member States to allocate at least 10% of their budgets to agriculture and rural development and the Abuja AU Assembly decision on the need for a definition of the core areas for the 10% budget allocation using an internationally accepted system that allows comparison across countries. The conference then adopted the following recommendations:

1. The adoption of the Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG) System as described in the “Guidance Note” developed by the AU/NEPAD for use in Agriculture Expenditure Tracking System.

2. Crop, Livestock, Fisheries and Forestry sectors (including Research and Development in these sectors) be the core areas for the allocation of the 10%.

3. Use of expenditure data rather then the budget data for the tracking system.

4. Member States to submit, by December 31 of each year, the duly completed Agriculture Expenditure Tracking System questionnaire to the African Union Commission.

5. That Member States utilise sufficient budgetary resources for the global development of rural areas.

6. That Member States place particular emphasis on the development of national and regional infrastructure to facilitate trade of agricultural goods.

The conference finally closed its sessions on the reception of information notes by the NEPD Secretariat on the status of preparation for the forth coming Fertilizer summit scheduled for Abuja – Nigeria in June 2006 as well as the status of implementation of the TerrAfrica Sustainable Land Management Initiative.


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