Commenting on the success of the forum and the critical next steps, Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) President and co-chair of the forum, Jane Karuku stated, “The international community is beginning to realize that the smallholder is an entrepreneur, and that farming is a business. AGRF inspired tremendous discussions and developed actionable plans to bring us closer to achieving food and nutrition security. It is critical that we move forward with these real, practical and pragmatic actions at the farmer-level, not at the office-level.”
“The forum serves as an important incubator for innovative solutions to growing the African agricultural sector,” said Yara President and Chief Executive Officer, and co-chair of the forum, Mr. Jørgen Ole Haslestad. “By gathering public- and private-sector leaders to collaborate across borders and industries, we are optimistic that the ultimate result will be a more food secure future.”
The AGRF action areas focused on four major themes: rethinking public-private partnerships, revolutionizing agricultural finance, making markets work, and building the foundations for rapid growth in agricultural productivity. Examples of the specific actions that were collectively decided include:
• Leverage catalytic finance: Develop structures that incentivize financial institutions to lend/invest in agriculture, especially in poor, socially-excluded smallholder farmers; and develop effective models for interaction and coordination between the various players in the financial system.
• Reinforce capacity for regional trade: Regionalize commodity trade and harmonize trade regimes. Remove trade barriers across countries and share knowledge and market information across borders.
• Innovate in staple food chains: Encourage regional economic communities to develop plans that address the bottlenecks that inhibit regional markets from working effectively, such as infrastructure, transport and corruption.
• Active engagement by the private sector with parliamentary select committees: The private sector and members of parliament from African country governments must work together in anon-partisan way to accelerate government investment in agriculture and introduce policy and regulations that motivate the private sector to invest in agriculture.
A full AGRF report will be delivered in early 2013.