Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
"I think this is one of the major challenges that we would like to see addressed," said Prof. Richard Mkandawire, NEPAD agriculture advisor.
A number of summits had been held in the past, he said, to address the food security problems in Africa. These were consultative in nature and included fish, cocoa and fertilizer summits, all held in Abuja, and two others held in Sirte, Libya, and Maputo, Mozambique.
The current summit, the last of the consultative meetings, was intended to move on to implementation of initiatives.
Mkandawire said cassava, Nerica rice and aquaculture sectors are among the success stories where best practices can be transferred and where African countries can start tapping into the expertise that already exists on the continent.
For this purpose, he suggested a technical aid corps be established from where countries that need certain expertise can get assistance.
"This is our purpose and it is our hope that we can focus on some of the major agricultural successes in Africa and see how we can upscale them," Mkandawire said.
"Let us also start to look at the possibility of establishing some form of technical assistance programmes within the various countries in Africa."
He saw a situation where Nigerian experts can go to other African countries to teach cassava technology which had been accumulated in Nigeria - and Egypt can also help out in fish production, a sector in which it is well developed.
"I think it is time that Africa began to help itself by providing this kind of support," he said.
The Abuja summit theme hinged on food security as an engine of economic growth and poverty alleviation, with an emphasis on making food available, accessible and affordable.
It was jointly organised by the Government of Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the African Union through NEPAD.
Nigeria’s agriculture minister, Mallam Adamu Bello, in opening the technical session envisaged the summit as trying to evolve a "well-informed and efficient agricultural agenda" for Africa.
Source : nepad news - december 8th, 2006