JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the 23rd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit gets underway in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, ONE.org's Do Agric petition (http://www.one.org/doagric) — which calls on African leaders to recommit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments — has gathered more than 2 million signatures of support from African citizens across the continent.
Download Do Agric Petition deliveries Pics and captions: http://www.apo-mail.org/1606262.ppt
The petition has been hand delivered to a number of Heads of State, including Presidents JakayaKikwete of Tanzania, YayiBoni of Benin, John Mahama of Ghana, MahamadouIssoufou of Niger, and MackySall of Senegal. The petition has also been hand delivered to Vice-President Guy Scott of Zambia, to Prime Minister Moussa Mara of Mali, as well as to Minister for Agriculture of Nigeria AdesinaAkinwumi, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security of Burkina Faso MahanaZougrana, Nigeria's Coordinating Minister for the Economy, NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, and South Africa's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, SenzeniZokwana.
ONE.org (http://www.one.org) officially launched its "Do Agric, It Pays" campaign on 20 January 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in support of the 2014 AU Year of Agriculture. The campaign makes a case for better strategic policies and transparent public investments that will better support smallholder farmers, especially women, and lift millions of Africans out of poverty.
Receiving the petition on June 10 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, President JakayaKikwete said:
"I will champion this cause at the AU Summit. We as African governments cannot succeed in taking agriculture forward unless we modernize it, instead of our people continuing to use the hand-held hoe and other farming implements from pre-biblical times."
Ghana's President John Mahama accepted the petition in Accra, Ghana on June 20. He hailed the initiative, and reiterated Ghana's commitment to improving the lives of smallholder farmers, adding that "your campaign is preaching to the converted as we in Ghana are already stepping up the policies and investments in agriculture."
In April, D'banj and 18 artists representing 11 different countries came together to record the single "Cocoa na Chocolate" in support of the Do Agric campaign. Addressing African leaders on behalf of the artists, D'banj said:
"We came together because we know Africa is rising. Yet the farmers who produce most of our food still struggle to survive. 70% of Africans are employed in agriculture. This week's AU Summit in Malabo is a historic opportunity for you to create a better future for our youth through better agricultural investment."
Ahead of the summit, Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, ONE.org's Executive Director for Africa, said:
"It is time for our leaders to step up and Do Agric at this year's summit during the AU Year of Agriculture. Millions of smallholder farmers are counting on you—including the over 2 million African citizens who have signed the Do Agric petition and the 400 million who live on less than a dollar a day."
This week, ONE.org and 120 partner organizations from across the continent released an open letter addressed to AU Heads of State laying out 10 joint policy recommendations to accelerate economic development on the continent through an African-led agricultural transformation agenda steered by the AU's own CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme).
DjiboBagna, President of Pan African Farmers Forum (PAFFO), one of the leading partners of the Do Agric campaign, said:
"The small holders farmers know it: Africa future is in their hands. They are ready to take their responsibility of feeding Africa, ensuring food and nutrition security for all African citizens, growing jobs and boosting the continental growth but only if African heads of State and Government take theirs as well."
The recommendations include adopting a target-based timeline towards reaching the 10% mark, implementing investments that increase the support for small-scale producers, and taking measures to eliminate the gender and youth gap with respect to access to finance, land, technology, and training and extension services, amongst others.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of ONE.org.
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ONE.org (http://www.one.org) is a campaigning and advocacy organization of nearly 6 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Strictly nonpartisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs. ONE.org is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris – and soon in Abuja – educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to http://www.one.org.