Date: March 14, 2011
Location: The Nation (Lilongwe, Malawi)
Malawi will from Monday host a five-day high level international meeting in the capital, Lilongwe, which is expected to pool together smallholder farmers and civil society leaders from seven countries across Africa.
The meeting, to be held between March 14-18 2011, aims at building an effective advocacy movement for sustainable and equitable agricultural development in Africa.
A statement from TrustAfrica released on Wednesday says the body’s long-term objective is to build an advocacy movement that engages vigorously in the agricultural policy-making processes in Africa.
“Without stronger civil society participation and particularly the engagement of smallholder farmers, Africa is not likely to achieve its vision of sustainable and equitable agriculture,” says the statement, quoting Dr. Tendai Murisa, who coordinates TrustAfrica’s work on agricultural development.
It says with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, TrustAfrica’s agriculture initiative seeks to strengthen the policy advocacy capacities of unions, associations and intermediary organisations that represent the interests of smallholder farmers.
TrustAfrica says its work is critical in light of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), led by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), as well as the 2003 Maputo Declaration.
Under the CAADP initiative, Heads of States from 53 African countries agreed to make agriculture a top priority in national development.
In signing the Maputo Declaration, the leaders also pledged to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10 percent of their national budgets and also improve the productivity of agriculture to attain an average annual growth rate of 6 percent.
Currently, TrustAfrica is working in seven countries, namely, Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Malawi, which have a combined population of about 160 million people.