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Government asked to cushion small-holder farmers

News By Jeckonia Otieno | 07th Aug, 2020

Experts want smallholder farmers and agri-businesses cushioned against the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on agricultural production and markets.    

The call was made during a meeting dubbed “Promotion of technologies and innovations for agri-business resilience in Africa in the wake of Covid-19” hosted by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). 

The meeting recommended that African governments create an enabling policy environment for commercialisation, support smart agro-input subsidy programmes without distorting market dynamics and promote digital agriculture solutions. 

Dr Denis Kyetere, Executive Director of AATF, noted that agri-businesses in Africa remain vulnerable to threats such as climate change, rapid population growth, pests and diseases among others and that the emergence of Covid-19 complicates matters further.

Wide choice

“For the last 15 years, AATF has dedicated itself to empowering smallholder farmers in Africa, with a wide choice of agricultural innovations and strategies to support their transition from subsistence to agribusiness,” said Kyetere.

Prof Hamadi Boga, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, noted that the government developed measures and strategies to ensure food was available, accessible and affordable to the general population when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in March 2020. 

Prof Ruth Oniango, founder of Rural Outreach and winner of Africa Food Prize 2017, said food systems in the continent will emerge stronger post-Covid-19 subject to the adoption of sound policies and innovations.

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