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EAC parliament promises to institutionalize relations with smallholder famers’ group


Smallholder farmers can look for better times as far as their involvement is concerned in implementation of Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) processes.
In April, 2012, East and Southern African Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF) met members of Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources (ATNR) committee of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), in the Kenyan Parliament in Nairobi, to share about their involvement in agriculture processes.
“We are very happy, we received a letter dated 3rd May, 2012 from the clerk’s office at EALA, which promised to address our concerns,” said  Mr. Moses Shaha, the chairman of ESAFF.
The letter acknowledged that EALA speaker had received ESAFF’s proposal, and he promised the assembly  would move to institutionalize relationship between ESAFF and  agricultural and natural resources committees in the assembly.
Other concerns of ESAFF, the letter said, had been forwarded to the EAC Secretary General for action.
In the meantime, at a meeting in Nairobi   attended by ESAFF chair and vice chair (Moses Shaha – Kenya and Elizabeth Mpofu – Zimbabwe) various stakeholders met with the special rapporteur of the United Nations Secretariat on the right to food.
It emerged that failure by countries to adhere to Maputo Declaration of 2003 is a show of lack of political commitment by governments to move agriculture to higher levels.
On the regional level, renewed efforts were placed into the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), established by the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) in 2003 to focus on improving and promoting agriculture across Africa. The CAADP aims to “Help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development” and seeks to bring together diverse players across the continent to improve co-ordination, to share knowledge, successes and failures, to encourage one another, and to promote joint and separate efforts to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture. In order to achieve these goals, the CAADP calls on African government “To increase public investments in agriculture by a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets and to raise agricultural productivity to at least 6 per cent growth rate annually.”
Rwanda was the first country to sign the CAADP Compact in 2007, and as of May 2011, 26 countries had signed the CAADP Compact, and in doing so, incorporated the CAADP into their domestic agricultural strategies.