Bridge gaps in agriculture – Sata

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PRESIDENT Sata today addressed the 22nd Ordinary Session of the  African Union (AU) with a call on leaders to come up with sound  strategies to bridge possible gaps in the financing of national  initiatives in order to effectively implement the Comprehensive  African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).  The President said there is need for African countries to continue on  the path of CAADP implementation in order to achieve food security,  poverty reduction and income for the people.  “As we reflect on where we are today, 10 years after the Maputo  Declaration on the Comprehensive African Development Programme, we are  reminded of our collective commitment to comprehensively address the  issues of hunger and food insecurity in a more sustainable manner,” Mr  Sata said  He said agriculture continues to play a cardinal role in the economic  growth of most African countries.

“As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of CAADP, I wish to urge all  my fellow African leaders to make sustainable investment decisions  that will have an impact on the agriculture sector and subsequently  produce long-term benefits for our people,” Mr Sata said  He said in Zambia, the agriculture sector contributes more than 18  percent of Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and it is the main source of  livelihood and income for over 78 percent of the rural population.  He said his Government firmly believes that the CAADP framework  provides a realistic approach to reducing poverty by focusing on how  to improve the income of citizens, attain food security and  create jobs for the most vulnerable in society who include the  unemployed youth, women and children.  “Zambia started the process of CAADP implementation in 2006, a few  years after the Maputo Declaration.

I am pleased to inform this August  Assembly that with the support of the AU, through the New Partnership  for Africa’s Development and other partners, we have made tremendous  progress in its implementation,” Mr Sata said.  He also said through broad stakeholder consultations, Zambia has  developed a national agriculture investment plan for agricultural  development which provides an overall investment framework for the  agriculture sector and is in tandem with the country’s overall  national development plan.  The President said all these important initiatives require sustained  investment in the agriculture sector in line with the recommendations  of the Maputo Declaration.  “Zambia is fully committed to the implementation of our continental  programme and for her part, has increased allocations to the  agriculture sector and embarked on resource mobilisation initiatives  with our cooperating partners for support in co-financing our national  investment plan,” Mr Sata said.  He also expressed happiness that in September last year, Zambia was  among the developing countries that was allocated a grant of US$ 31.12  million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme to  support the implementation of its investment plan.  “We are grateful for this grant as it will go a long way to support  the implementation of our various programmes,” Mr Sata said

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