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Khartoum Declaration issued by the 4th meeting of the COMESA Ministers of Agriculture
22 March 2007 - 23 March 2007
COMESA


"We, the Ministers of Agriculture in the COMESA Member States, meeting in Khartoum, Sudan on 22nd to 23rd March to review progress in the agriculture sector in the region, have reached consensus on a number of issues and have agreed to issue this Declaration on Agriculture:

Expressing our appreciation to His Excellency Omer Hassan Ahmed El-Bahsir, President of the Republic of Sudan, the government and people of Sudan, for hosting this important meeting which has availed us an opportunity to devise a regional strategy to expand agricultural production, improve agricultural productivity, enhance regional food security and to promote both intra-and extra COMESA trade in agricultural commodities;

Recalling the commitment that our Governments have made to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of cutting hunger in Africa by half 2015 and reducing child malnutrition in Africa by 40 % 2015;

Further recalling the decision of the AU Heads of state and governments at the Maputo Summit in July 2003 to adopt the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as a framework for accelerating agricultural development and food security on the continent;

Taking into account the commitment by the AU Summit in Maputo to allocate at least 10 % of national budgets to agriculture and rural development and attain an annual agricultural sector growth rate of 6 %;

Further recalling the decisions of the COMESA Summit held in Djibouti in November 2006 which underscored the importance of enhanced agro-processing and value addition;

Determined to raise the productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector in regional and international markets;

Also recalling the decisions taken at the AU Abuja Food Security Summit in December 2006 to take urgent measures to accelerate the development of the strategic commodities (maize, rice, cotton , beef, dairy, poultry, and fisheries) by fast tracking the implementation of trade arrangements adopted in the regional Economic Communities (RECs); and affirming the commitments of COMESA Agriculture Ministers made in Cairo in October 2005 to enhance cooperation in agricultural research and training in the region through the establishment of centres of excellence and harmonization of national policies and strategies.

We hereby declare as follows:

  1. We call upon member states to fast-track the implementation of the CAADP process by developing appropriate and bankable project proposals in the key areas of crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry development;


  2. To take urgent measures to develop workable strategies to increase the availability of agricultural inputs, including subsidized quality seeds, fertilizers, plant protection agro-chemicals and improved livestock breeds, to targeted groups of small scale farmers in the region;


  3. To hasten efforts to expand the area of cultivated land under irrigation so as to address the current over dependence on rain-fed agriculture;


  4. To initiate programmes that address infrastructural challenges that hinder agricultural developments particularly in relation to the distribution of inputs, agricultural marketing and trade;


  5. To urgently address issues of livestock production and animal disease control across the region, with special reference to pastoral communities;


  6. To hasten the development and exploitation of the abundant fish and fish resources and the aquaculture potential that the region possesses;


  7. To explore national and regional programmes aimed at exploiting emerging opportunities, including agro-forestry development, trade in carbon and bio-fuels, while ensuring that regional food security is not compromised;


  8. We undertake to improve upon the availability of timely and quality information which will feed into the Food and Agricultural Marketing Information System (FAMIS). Also there is need for the member states to mainstream the FAMIS into their agricultural activities as a way of ensuring that it becomes sustainable at national level;


  9. To hasten efforts to increase value addition and agro-processing activities in the region;


  10. To establish a panel of experts and designate regional centres of excellence to provide guidance and spearhead agricultural innovations with special reference to biotechnology and bio-safety issues;


  11. To mainstream issues of gender in agricultural programmes and ensure their effective implementation;


  12. To forge strong partnerships with relevant regional and international organizations, as well as cooperating partners in the implementation of agricultural programmes and projects.

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