Assistant Secretary Jose W. Fernandez today stressed that private sector investment will be critical at all levels of agriculture to improve food security.
“Private sector investment enhances access to markets for the poor and create broad-based economic growth.” – Mr Fernandez
In his closing remarks at food security discussion with African Agriculture Ministers, Mr. Fernandez said there are opportunities to expand and develop the use of new technologies that will improve farmer incomes and result in greater agricultural output.
“I’m talking about the range of technologies from the development of new drought and pest resistant seeds through biotechnology to simple, yet, innovative techniques, techniques like hermetically sealed bags that can cut post-harvest losses.” – Mr. Fernandez
He stressed that to encourage private sector investment, countries will need, countries will need transparent, predictable and efficient regulatory systems. He said they will need plant variety protection and patent protection of seeds.
He noted that countries will need to create an investment climate with policies based on science that will send an unequivocal signal to public and private sectors that governments are committed to leveraging the latest scientific innovations.
“And so we would urge governments, not just in Africa, but around the world, to make this a top priority so that plans to address the challenges outlined in your discussions today can move forward at the speed that Africa needs.” -Mr. Fernandez
He stressed that without such systems and without such policies, many African countries will miss out on the opportunity that new technologies, technologies like biotechnology, have to offer. He pointed out that as a result, it will be disadvantaged and non-competitive in crop productivity.