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