Monday, December 08, 2008
December 8, 2008
The African Union (AU) says it is uncomfortable with over regulation of farmers in Africa and how they are compelled to conduct business when selling their produce. AU Vice President Erastus Mwencha has bemoaned that farming was over-controlled by most African governments which dictated conditions on under which farmers trade, saying this denied them opportunities to get the real value for the produce.
“When there is surplus of maize, farmers are allowed to export and when there is little, they are not allowed, as the AU we are not comfortable with over-controlling of farmers because they are the ones who suffer when they get a raw deal,” he said.
He called on governments that over regulated farmers to allow them to engage in viable business ventures without any interference which would negatively affect profit margins for farmers.
Mr. Mwencha said this in an interview with ZANIS in Livingstone during a reception organized by the AU Peace and Security Council Retreat at Zambezi Sun hotel.
Meanwhile, the AU Vice President attributed the rising global food prices to a decline in production, high cost of agricultural inputs and reduced investment in agriculture.
He however said challenges arising due to high food prices could be addressed through comprehensive implementation of policies in land and water management, nutrition, technology and provision of fertilizer subsidies to boost production.
“We have a comprehensive agricultural development program referred to as the four pillars formulated to address and implement policies in land and water management, nutrition, technology and provision of fertilizer subsidies to boost production,” he said.
He said such measures would play a significant role in ensuring food security in countries most affected by low production and limited investment in agriculture.
And Mr. Mwencha said infrastructure development was key to sustainable economic development for the African continent because all sectors that made meaningful contributions to positive development depended on availability of good infrastructure.