*** The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union. ***
SACAU Press release 12 December 2014
Press Release 12th December 2014
“Africa must take ownership of its agriculture” – says newly elected PAFO President
SACAU President, Dr Theo de Jager has been elected as the new President of the Pan African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO). He was elected at the 2nd General Assembly of PAFO which was held in Cotonou, Benin from the 6th - 7th December 2014. He is taking over the reins from Mr Djibo Bagna, from the farmers’ organisation of West Africa (ROPPA), who held the position for the past two years.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Peru (Lima COP20), Dr de Jager urged farmers’ organisations on the continent to take the lead in ensuring that agriculture gets the attention and support it deserves in order to change the lives of farmers and millions of people on the continent. “Farmers in Africa represent a significant number of the continent’s population - they are the poorest people in the world, yet they do not live on the poorest continent in the world. We have good soils and a good climate – things money cannot buy, but we lack in technology, infrastructure, market linkages and expertise. The oil and minerals of the continent have only benefitted a small elite, but prosperity in agriculture on the continent can transform the lives of millions of farmers and households,” Dr de Jager emphasized.
The new executive Board of PAFO include Mr Abdelmajid Ezzar of Tunisia, who has been elected as deputy President, Mr Djibo Bagna of Niger who is treasurer and Mrs Elizabeth Atangana of Cameroon, the first President of PAFO from 2010-2012, who will be responsible for women and young farmers. The priority of the new Board under the leadership of Dr de Jager is ensuring that PAFO establishes its secretariat within the next six months in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. PAFO was launched in Lilongwe, Malawi in October 2010 with membership from Africa’s five regional farmers’ organisations namely, EAFF (East Africa), PROPAC (Central Africa), UMNAGRI (Northern Africa), SACAU (Southern Africa) and ROPPA (West Africa). PAFO was established to promote and consolidate solidarity among African agricultural producers and to transform the sector on the continent into sustainable farming and food provision industry.
Dr de Jager says his election comes on the back of a “booming time for Africa” where seven out of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are on the continent. However, he advises that a number of key changes need to take root among stakeholders on the continent for agriculture to benefit in a major way from Africa’s growth era. He says some of these changes include:
· A change of mindset from fighting poverty through agriculture, to wealth creation.
· Embracing of technology, especially from the young people.
· A need for Africa to take ownership of opportunities on the continent (intra-Africa trade), and
· The promotion of unity and cooperation between Africa’s people and governments towards a common goal.
SACAU CEO, Mr Ishmael Sunga, pledged the organisation’s continued support to PAFO. “This structure is bigger than any region, so we need to hold hands on this journey to get agriculture in the forefront of economic development,” he said.
Visit our website at: www.sacau.org
Personal Assistant to CEO
Fax to Email: 086 545 7278
Mobile: +27 82 495 3648
(+27 12 644 0808 Unit 11, Central Office Park,
(+27 12 664 8386 257 Jean Avenue, Centurion, 0157
8 www.sacau.org *10480, Centurion, 0046, Pretoria, South Africa