Africa should defy the developed world and subsidise its farmers so it can be able to feed its people, Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika said on Monday.
Developing countries have called on nations in the developed world to open up agricultural markets by cutting tariffs and subsidies -- which they say discourage farmers from producing.
African countries argue their products would be much cheaper than developed nations' goods if trade-distorting subsidies were removed.
Wa Mutharika said food security should top the continent's agenda and investment in agricultural subsidies should be increased.
"For a long time … we were told poor African farmers in rural areas must compete through free market structures with highly advanced farmers in industrialised countries. Unfortunately, Africa accepted this falsehood. How wrong we have been and what a price we have paid," wa Mutharika said at the African Union's conference of ministers of finance, planning and economic development.
"Time has now come for Africa to stand up and take a decision to subsidise our poor farmers so that they can grow enough food beyond subsistence... A nation that depends on other nations to feed it cannot claim sovereignty," he told the senior government officials at the conference.
"At the last meeting of the African Union in February … we agreed that food insecurity disturbs peace and security in our continent. We therefore resolved that five years from now, Africa should be able to feed itself and that no child in Africa should die of hunger, malnutrition or starvation," he added.
Wa Mutharika also told delegates that stable political regimes and a sound macro-economic environment which included low interest rates, low inflation and stable currencies was crucial for economic growth that will lift the continent out of poverty.
"This is good governance. Fast and sustainable macro-economic growth results from good governance. Indeed, empirical evidence shows that no economy in the world can grow if it is poorly".
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 29 Mart 2010, 19:54