ARUSHA - Agriculture Ministers from the East African Community (EAC) partner states have called for an increase in budget allocations to the agricultural sector.
They made the call over the weekend, after concluding a two- day Multi-sectoral Meeting on Food Security and Climate Change in Arusha, Tanzania.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Agriculture Minister, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, said that they want the EAC partner countries to establish appropriate coordination structures for implementation of the Food Security Action Plan and Climate Change Policy.
“It was recommended that appropriate institutions be set up do a follow up on the food action plan and ensure that it is implemented,” she added.
Kalibata stated that the Ministers called upon states to demonstrate serious commitment and implement the Maputo Declaration by allocating at least 10 percent of their budgets to agriculture by 2015.
“Since last year, Rwanda has been allocating 10 percent of its budget to agriculture and it is the only nation among the EAC countries that does that,” she noted.
The minister pointed out that the region needs to fast-track the finalisation of the climate change master plan and strategy and key instruments that will guide the implementation of the Food Security Action Plan.
The forum aimed at enabling all the relevant sectors as directed by the 22nd meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers to agree on the implementation of the EAC Food Security Action Plan (2011-2015), the EAC Climate Change Policy and the Summit Declaration on Food Security and Climate Change.
During the their 9th Extraordinary Summit Meeting in April , the EAC Heads of State at adopted both the Food Security Action Plan as well as the EAC Climate Change Policy.
The documents propose regional interventions to address the two key issues of food insecurity and climate change which the EAC has resolved to jointly undertake.
In the just concluded meeting, ministers directed the EAC Secretariat to build human resource capacities to address these challenges and to actively engage in agriculture, food security, environment and climate change policy processes at regional and international levels.