NAIROBI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- African governments should reform existing agricultural policies to enhance the sector's resilience to emerging challenges like climatic shocks, population pressure and high demand for food, experts said at a forum in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The experts and researchers attending the 1st ministerial Conference on Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) said that outdated policies, dismal technology uptake alongside underperforming extension services were undermining agricultural productivity in Africa.
Director General of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), David Bergvinson said that a retooling of agricultural policies in Africa was an imperative to ensure the sector cope with natural and man-made disruptions.
"African countries requires new policies to modernize the agriculture sector in the face of the looming challenge of natural shocks, rapid urbanization and high demand for food to feed a growing population," Bergvinson remarked.
He added that refashioning of agricultural policies coupled with investments in research and innovations is key to modernize food production systems in Africa.
"It is possible to reclaim Africa's agriculture if there is political commitment to enact progressive policies and invest in technologies that can improve the performance of key value chains," said Bergvinson.
He urged African countries to promote adoption of tropical crop varieties that can resist extreme weather events like droughts and floods.
Competitiveness of the agriculture sector in Africa can be restored if governments scale up investments in research, technology and capacity development for farmers.
The Managing Director of Africa Regional Office for Rockefeller Foundation, Mamadou Biteye said that research and innovations are needed to promote climate resilient farming in Africa.
"Disruptions that are connected to climate change will have outsize impacts on African agriculture but innovative solutions are available to enable farmers produce more food in the face of natural disasters," Biteye said.
He noted that innovations like crop insurance and mobile based applications have provided respite to African smallholders grappling with climatic shocks and market volatility. Enditem