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Agriculture - Nutrition

Annan heads Africa's Green Revolution

afrol News, 18 June - The former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has added another feather on his cap after being appointed as the first Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Mr Annan reacted to the development in Cape Town, South Africa, where he had delivered a keynote speech on African agriculture. He said he was deeply moved and honoured by the appointment and hoped to use his position to stimulate the progress on a wider and critical African development.

"I am honoured today to take up this important post and join with my fellow Africans in a new effort to comprehensively tackle the challenges holding back hundreds millions of small-scale farmers in Africa," Mr Annan said.

"Africa is the only region where overall food security and livelihoods are deteriorating. We will reverse this trend by working to create an environmentally sustainable, uniquely African Green Revolution. When our poorest farmers finally prosper, all of Africa will benefit."

Mr Annan, a Ghanaian by birth, is the first-ever African to become the UN Secretary General.

AGRA was established last year with an initial grant of US $150 million from the foundations of Bill & Melinda Gates and Rockefeller. Its main objective includes helping millions of small-scale farmers and their families across Africa so that they chase poverty and hungry and increase sustainable increases in farm productivity and incomes.

Headquarted in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Alliance is set for continental assignments which include strengthening local and regional agricultural markets, helping to improve irrigation, soil health and training for farmers, supporting the development of new seed systems better equipped to cope with the harsh African climate.

Its establishment is a response to calls by African leaders to chart a new path for prosperity by spurring the continent's agricultural development and also seeks to help reverse decades of relative neglect in funding for agricultural development for Africa.

The Alliance strongly endorses the vision laid out in the African Union's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which seeks a 6 percent annual growth in food production by 2015.

A board member of AGRA and head of a leading agricultural research organisation (FARA), Dr. Monty Jones was delighted over the appointment of Mr Annan.

"With Kofi Annan as our new chairman the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa will be much better placed to build broader political and economic support behind our vision of pro-poor, pro-environment partnerships needed to revitalize agriculture for Africa's small-scale farmers, and replace wide-spread poverty with prosperity," he said.

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