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We must harness Africa’s agricultural potential to ensure food security — Ruto

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 9, 2023/ — Africa has a potential to feed itself and export the surplus, President William Ruto has said.

He noted that the continent has huge agricultural space that it must exploit.

The President observed that it is time countries in Africa worked together and put to use their untapped resources.

“We must utilise the enormous arable lands that we have to our advantage,” he said.

President Ruto noted that the favourable weather coupled with the deliberate recruitment of the youth into the sector will further make Africa food stable.

He was speaking on Thursday in Dar Es Salaam during the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 that was hosted by President Samia Suluhu.

Presidents Évariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi), Hussein Mwinyi (Zanzibar), Macky Sall (Senegal), among other leaders, were present.

President Ruto said there will be no future in agriculture unless the youth are on board.

“A new narrative around agriculture will make it attract more young people who can help us produce more efficiently.”

He cited the employment of new technology and increased mechanisation as some of the strategies to use.

“Food is emotive. We must work with other stakeholders to think and plan to get it right.

He told the Summit that through the Government’s deliberate plan to subsidise production, at least 60 million bags of maize will be realised this year.

He added that the increased production — of more than 20 Million bags as compared to last year’s — was due to the accessibility, affordability and availability of seeds and fertilisers.

“We are now addressing the post-harvest losses that we have been suffering from.”

He noted that the Government has purchased mobile driers and is now fixing the market infrastructure where value will be added to farm produce.

Ms Suluhu said Africa’s food security also lies in the continent offering financial support to farmers.

She said access to affordable credit will ensure farmers produce more.

Meanwhile, President Ruto has asked African countries to use their borders to facilitate rather than impede trade.

“Let us use the borders as a bridge to intra -Africa business rather than frustrating commerce.”

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