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11 African countries to benefit from agricultural transformation plan

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At least 11 African countries will benefit from the US $280 million Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), which was launched this week at the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Vanguard Newspapers in Nigeria reports that Nigeria was chosen as one of the priority countries to benefit from PIATA but other countries that will also profit are Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

The multi-million dollar partnership – put together by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – aims to catalyze and sustain inclusive agricultural transformation in participating countries to increase farming income and improve food security for 30 million smallholder farm households.

The PIATA is a collaboration between donors that align behind the Malabo agenda agreed to by African Heads of State and Government in 2004. At the African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014, Heads of State and Government adopted a set of concrete agriculture goals to be attained by 2025. The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods is a set of new goals showing a more targeted approach to achieve the agricultural vision for the continent which is shared prosperity and improved livelihoods. The Malabo Summit reconfirmed that agriculture should remain high on the development agenda of the continent, and is a critical policy initiative for African economic growth and poverty reduction.

The PIATA is one of the various means by which each of the partners are supporting African countries to deliver on agricultural transformation as the partnership will allow partners to align and complement existing efforts, making new investments in developing input systems, value chains and policy where they will have the most impact.

Journalist Jimoh Babatunde, who is reporting from Abidjan for Vanguard Newspapers, quotes Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, who said the PIATA should be seen as an  opportunity to leverage even more from the partners and their huge networks, for greater impact. “We are looking forward to deploying the technologies that we have developed over the years, together with our shared knowledge and grant support, to work with our esteemed partners… Together we hope to catalyze Africa’s pursuit for prosperity through agriculture. PIATA is critical in our ongoing push to build the resilience of farmers and systems that affect them, especially in light of increasing challenges such as climate change, among others.”

Also speaking at the unveiling of the partnership, the Executive Director of the Global Growth and Opportunity Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rodger Voorhies, said: “We have seen significant progress when countries recognise the critical importance of agriculture to their economic development and help catalyse agriculture transformation with targeted investments, evidence-based policies and strong national plans.”

He said PIATA is an exciting platform that can help countries take the lead in driving agricultural transformation. “Our investment reflects our desire to help countries develop high-quality plans linked to national and continental accountability frameworks.”

Sean Jones, the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID, said “agriculture is at its core a private sector enterprise, and one of the best bets for job creation and inclusive growth when the right policies and investments allow the private sector to flourish. This partnership offers an innovative mechanism to unlock this investment and realize many targets laid out in the Global Food Security Strategy approved by our Congress.”