• May 25, 2024
  • Last Update May 25, 2024 9:02 PM
  • Nairobi

African Leaders gather in Nairobi for the African Fertilizer and Soil Summit

African Leaders gather in Nairobi for the African Fertilizer and Soil Summit

Nairobi,

Tuesday May 7 2024,

KNA by Bernadette Khaduli

There is need for the African continent to develop coordination mechanisms where all stakeholders will sit at the same table and develop action plans that address issues of fertilizer and soil health.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Dr. Musalia Mudavadi said issues of fertilizer and soil health cut across different jurisdictions, an issue that requires all stakeholders to deliberate and come up effective and long lasting solutions.

Musalia who was speaking on Tuesday during the Second African Fertilizer and Soil Health (AFSH) Summit held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi also urged participants of the summit to come up with financing proposals that are practical and achievable.

“This is the only way to reach the targets set within the action plans as the economies recover,” he stated.

The three-day event that has been hosted by the Kenya government in collaboration with the African Union (AU) has brought together over 2000 stakeholders from across the continent to evaluate the state of Africa’s soil health, to network on how best issues affecting agriculture can be addressed as well as engage in business at the event themed ‘Listen to the Land’ that will culminate into a high-level Presidential Summit.

The Maputo Declaration in July 2003 Heads of State and Governments endorsed the commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary said he is aware that it has been difficult for majority of the African governments to allocate budgets to agriculture and rural development at the level anticipated in the Maputo declaration due to the effects of Covid -19 that had affected the economic performance of most countries and the world.

Countries have also been compounded by the competing resource allocation needs.

The AFSH Summit which will be the continent’s largest soil health forum will be held under the leadership of President William Ruto and Chaired by the Chairperson of the African Union commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Musalia said the summit has been held at a challenging time when millions of Africans across the continent are facing severe food and nutrition insecurity, an issue he said requires the continent to come up with long term and sustainable strategies on how to feed the growing African population.

He expressed appreciation to the Heads of State and Government from the AU who have provided the policy framework and guidance on the key focus of the summit, singling out the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme which he noted has served as the framework for action for the agricultural transformation across Africa since 2003.

“We laud the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, an AU initiative, which supports member states in increasing investment and productivity of the agricultural sector,” added Musalia.

In his remarks, the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development Mithika Linturi said soil fertility depletion has been cited as the fundamental root cause of declining per capita production due to continuous mining of soil nutrients and inappropriate farming practices among them use of blanket fertilizer recommendations.

He singled out crop productivity, food insecurity, low return to agricultural investment and environmental degradation as some the negatives effect of land degradation.

“There is need for Kenya to utilize its available land for agriculture in a sustainable manner to avoid putting pressure on the soils,” said the CS.

He announced that only 19 percent of Kenya land area is arable for crop production while that under cereals production is approximately 2.7 million hectares (47percent) of the total arable land which he noted puts a lot of pressure on the soils.

Some of the key declarations and commitments made by African Continent Heads of State and government to drive agricultural productivity to improve food and nutrition and security are the Abuja Declaration in 2006 where the declaration on fertilizer for African Green Revolution identified the need to increase fertilizer use to stimulate agricultural productivity growth to end hunger and poverty in Africa.

The Malabo Declaration of June 2014 African leaders declared their commitment to end hunger by 2025, while the Soil Initiative for Africa held in September 2020, the African Union Commission issued a call to improve the health and productivity of Africa’s soils and scaling proven and locally adapted technologies.

Others who spoke at the meeting were the Uganda Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Chair of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment, Frank Tumwebaze and the AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, African Union Commission Amb. Josefa Sacko.

The Summit was attended by Ministers from the African continent.

Courtesy; KNA

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