By Prossy Nandudu
AFRICAN leaders under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have been urged to increase investments in agriculture to boost food production.
The move is hoped to improve regional food security by eliminating the current shortages that have triggered off protests in Uganda and Kenya.
The call was made by Dr. Chris Muyunda, the executive director of the Alliance for Commodity Trade for Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) at the Africa Agricultural Markets Programme policy seminar held in Kigali, Rwanda recently.
ACTESA is a specialised COMESA programme that enhances trade in regional staple crops and links smallholder farmers to reliable commodity markets.
Muyunda said in 2003, the Africa Union issued a directive under the Maputo Declaration to African leaders to increase investment in agriculture but few countries had taken up the initiative.
“The Maputo Declaration requires African leaders to increase investment in agriculture to 10% of their national budgets. Only eight out of the 53 countries have met the target,” said Muyunda.
He named Rwanda and Ethiopia as some of the countries that had increased their agriculture budgets.
“The failure by many African countries to increase spending towards agriculture is a serious