A three-day conference deliberating on ways of enhancing agricultural productivity and food security in Africa was held on November 1-3, 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference deliberated on issues affecting African agricultural productivity and food security. Using keynote speeches, panel discussions, and presentation of papers and posters, the conference covered topics on science and technology; markets, trade, and regional integration; appropriate capacities, investments, institutions and policies for supporting agriculture; agriculture, nutrition and health linkages; agriculture and climate change mitigation and adaptation; and harnessing the non-farm sector, economic growth, and poverty reduction.
The conference provided a forum for the exchange of ideas, experiences, and innovations on improving agricultural productivity for achieving food security in Africa. Research results on the trends, determinants, constraints, and opportunities for improving agricultural productivity in Africa within the framework of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), national agricultural and rural development strategies, and investments plans were show cased. The conference was used to identify areas for policy actions, further research, and innovations toward increasing productivity in Africa for enhancing food security and reducing poverty in the continent.
There was general consensus that agricultural problems in Africa require business as unusual approach to be able to effectively tackle the current and future challenges in food security in Africa. For this to be done African agriculture has to go through a transformation from a largely subsistence-level activity to a market-oriented production system which integrates with the whole value chain. The conference also underscored the urgent need for global, national and local actors to pursue innovative approaches to improve agricultural productivity in the continent. The conference recognized that many questions remain to be answered so as to bring about sustained productivity improvement in Africa’s agriculture. These include policies to guide incentives required to raise productivity, the extent of relying on smallholder agriculture to feed the continent, adapting to the effects of climate change, promoting pro-poor green economy, mobilizing investments needed to promote agricultural productivity, and organizing and using collective action such as farmer organizations to promote smallholder agriculture, among others.
The conference was attended by representatives of regional, national, and international organizations, farmers including farmer and trader organizations, researchers, policymakers, academics, and members of the private sector.