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April 21, 2008

Zambia to be second signatory to CAAPD

Zambia will be the second country after Rwanda to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAAPD), an agriculture development plan supported by the AU, Nepad and Comesa.

In a statement released by Comesa Secretariat, Zambia will endorse the plan when officials and experts meet in Lusaka from April 29-30.

Rwanda signed the document in March 2007. Amid increasing food prices and vulnerability of most African states as far as food security is concerned, the CAAPD was created by AU member states which are highly dependant on Agriculture to help them achieve sustainable economic growth.

The programme was mooted with hope that it will help eliminate hunger, poverty and food insecurity, at the same time enabling food exports. It is regarded as one of the best agriculture development frameworks in Africa.

Comesa is mandated to implement the programme in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

Mwencha said that eventually all member states will endorse the Victoria Declaration, in which Agriculture ministers from Comesa member states and other policy-makers came up with a roadmap to develop the agriculture.

It is expected that, if implemented, CAADP will help spur growth in agricultural output in African countries by 6 percent. Under the framework, every member state is required to allocate at least 10% of their annual budget for agriculture.

A recent World Bank report indicated that Africa will be the hardest hit by the current food crisis because African countries don't have food reserves and tend to suffer climatic disasters like droughts and flooding.

Research also indicates that Africans spend most on food than any other place. While an average American spends 16% of their income, African spend a record 77% of their incomes on food.

Other factors to blame for Africa's vulnerability to hunger are subsistence farming and over relying on nature while its developed counterparts rely on artificial technology.

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