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BY: ANDUALEM SISAY. The African Union (AU) has called on the member states to prioritise agriculture to grow their economies.

The AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs , said that experience from elsewhere indicated a positive correlation between development and modernisation of agriculture.

She made the remarks Thursday afternoon in Addis Ababa ahead of the Heads of Sates Summit, scheduled for the weekend.

“Most of the countries that have developed first focused and modernised their agriculture, said Mrs Tumusiime.

The economy

“If you develop agriculture first, it will be become a springboard for growth of other sectors and the economy in general,” she said.

The AU commissioner urged African countries to continue implementing the Malabo and the Maputo declarations in which they pledged to invest more for the transformation of agriculture on the continent.

Agriculture in Africa has been growing by around 4 per cent annually over the past few years.

The rate was envisaged to rise to least 6 per cent per annum, absorbing one third of the unemployed people on the continent, as indicated in the 2003 Maputo Protocol.

Demographic dividend

“Agriculture growth of 4 per cent is not bad.

“Agricultural productivity is increasing in the continent. The fact that we see locally processed foods in our supermarkets, which was not the case before, shows that we are on right track,” said Mrs Tumusiime.

The focus of this year‘s AU Summit is the youth with the theme: “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth”.

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