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African countries urged to protect farmers

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday asked African countries to protect their farmers by buying local products as part of efforts to boost production.He  said there was need to come up with measures aimed at protecting local  industries and farmers from cheap imports, urging African nations to  trade more with each other.

The  Deputy President said Kenya was committed  to working closely with  other states to speed up regional and continental integration as part of  efforts to boost trade.

He said Kenya was among those countries, which have agreed that continental and regional integration is the path to transforming African  countries from being developing to developed economies.

Speaking during the 15th Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme  (CAADP) Partnership Platform meeting held in Nairobi, the Deputy  President said Kenya is determined to pursue free trade and regional  integration. 

Dr Ruto said Kenya was not only the first country to sign the free trade  area agreement but also took the lead in ratifying it so as to use its boundaries as bridges to share its prosperity.

“I  want to persuade you, political and knowledge leaders that this is our  moment to take steps that change the fortunes of our continent,” said the Deputy President.

 The theme of the meeting was ‘Enhancing Trade and Market for Accelerated Agriculture Transformation’.

 “From  our East African Community, which has made tremendous progress towards  maximum integration, to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa  (COMESA), which is the largest common market at its level of  integration, the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is a  logical next step in our national vision of greater integration,” said  Dr Ruto.

 He said African countries must embrace economic and political integration  in order to spur prosperity and ensure strategic security for their citizens.

The Deputy President said African countries have applied themselves  strongly to creating policies and programmes that ease these critical  challenges, but the success rate has persistently failed to reflect the  efforts invested.

He said the move can be discouraging, and may lead to pessimism and widespread skepticism. 

 “A  continent-wide approach offers many benefits, including scale, breadth,  diversity and flexibility.  This is why CAADP has become increasingly  critical to African problem-solving and African development,” said the  Deputy President.

He said agriculture remains key in unlocking opportunities for sustainable development in the continent.

“When  we compare agriculture’s contribution to our GDPs with our collective  share of world trade, we draw the unhappy observation that agriculture forms a big portion of a very tiny pie indeed,’ said Dr Ruto. 

He called on the need to optimize agriculture through implementation of ideas that deliberately build and exploit the many complementarities located in the sector and its value chains.

He said access to markets, research and technology dissemination and  increased food production are vital components of complementary commitments that aim to boost African countries’ individual domestic, as  well as collective continent-wide production. 

“This partnership platform is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural  transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic  growth and prosperity for all,” said Dr Ruto.


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