IREN PRESS RELEASE
To the News Desk
Subject: The Pan Africa Workshop on Service Delivery to Small Holder Farmers
Venue: Safari Park Hotel
Date: 18th -21st May 2008
Contact: James Shikwati, IREN Director, Tel:254-20-2731497 email firstname.lastname@example.org for accreditation to cover the event.
With a worldwide food crisis looming, small holder farmers hold the key to preventing starvation in Africa. Global food prices may be driven by increased demand in China, high oil prices, bad weather in strategic farming countries such as Australia, and reduction of acreage set aside for food crops in favor of biofuels. But Africa has always suffered perennial food crisis that among other solutions ought to be tackled by bringing small holder farmers on board.
Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) will host the ‘Pan Africa Workshop on service delivery to small holder farmers’ at Safari Park Hotel 18- 21 May 2008 to brainstorm on this issues. The workshop under the theme ‘Improving the life of smallholder farmers through services’ will review Africa’s agriculture environment in terms of service delivery to small holder farmers and discuss commercialization of agricultural ideas as a strategy to enable Africa address the perennial food crisis.
According to the Africa Union, 200 million people are faced with chronic hunger and malnutrition. Smallholder farmers comprise about 85 percent of farms worldwide, in Africa smallholder farmers provide food, raw material and contribute to national GDP by 24-40%. In Kenya, Smallholder farmers meet 75% of the national food needs yet only 30% can access credit facilities and other services.
Supported by the Syngenta Foundation, the workshop will bring together participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin, Europe and the USA to evaluate crop protection and stewardship industry in Africa, agricultural markets, service delivery to farmers, and practical examples of moving out of dependency. The participants who will include farmers, government (policy makers and regulatory bodies), agribusiness (manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers), academia, health experts, civil society and the media will also review the potential of mechanization and technology use in the agricultural field in the continent.
Kenya’s Minister for Agriculture Hon. William Ruto will officially open the workshop on the 19th May 2008 10.00 am.