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‘Agriculture has potential to transform Africa’s economy’

Agriculture has been highlighted as a key to transforming the economy of Africa through job creation. This was the submission of the Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, while speaking at a workshop held in Ibadan.
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“Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Identification and Preparation,’’ the workshop was organised by Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Consortium of International Agricultural Research.
The Director General emphasised that adopting modernised and commercial agriculture is the key to transforming Africa and the livelihoods of its people, particularly the rural ones. He said the workshop was a response to the plan for agricultural transformation in Africa through raising agricultural productivity.
“TAAT is the first initiative that the AfDB is putting forward, agriculture is important and should not be toiled with in Africa and we hope the workshop will be result oriented,” he said. Similarly, Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, AfDB,
Dr. Chiji Ojukwu, emphasised that the bank was worried about the level of hunger and poverty in Africa. He said: “We are also worried about the low value addition of our commodities, low level of technology, and Africa produces about 25 per cent of the best technology they should produce.
“There is need for us to raise the level of our productivity”. Ojukwu gave assurance to the bank that its partners would pursue an agenda to transform a selection of key agriculture commodities and agro-ecological zones.
“Country-level transformation is already underway in Africa, by 2015, Africa will achieve 40 per cent or more share of global market for processed commodities,” Ojukwu said.
The IITA Director, Partnership and Capacity Building, Dr Ken Dashiell, said the participants would contribute to the preparation of the TAAT programme in terms of approach and technical content of the planned process.
His words: “The workshop will bring together members of the 12 CGIAR centres, National Agricultural Research and Extension partners, and private sector partners. Outcome of the workshop shall be used in a follow up programme preparation and appraisal to accomplish the TAAT for approval by the directors of AfDB.”

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