A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
In 2003, the African leaders signed the Maputo declaration promising to spend at least 10% of their national budget on agriculture. 10 years later, where are their promises? African artists (Baaba Maal, Oxfam Ambassador, 2Face Idibia, Daara J Family, Lami Philips, Smarty, Sound Sultan, Danny Lee and Ceepee) have recorded a song calling on the African Heads of States to keep their promises.
They have also signed a letter addressed to the African leaders:
Nelson Mandela once said that the message of artists is more important than that of politicians, because it goes to people’s hearts, in their offices, kitchens and supermarkets.
In our song “Where is our 10%?), we – that is, Baaba Maal, 2Face Idibia, Daara J Family , Lami Philips, Smarty, Sound Sultan, Danny Lee and Ceepee – have come to convey the message of African farmers and pastoralists. Our wish is that this song will call upon and move the authorities in our countries to take measures NOW to honor the commitments made at Maputo 10 years ago to invest at least 10% of the national budget in agriculture.
Ten years later, the reality is bitter! Only 8 African countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Malawi, Ghana and Ethiopia) out of 57 have kept this promise.
In 2003, African farmers received with much enthusiasm and hope, the declaration made by our heads of state to support agriculture and livestock raising by investing in these priority sectors. The stakes were high: supporting our family farms to help them produce more and thus live better, but also to allow us to eat better, without risk of food shortages or crises. And yet, hunger continues to affect 239 million people on our continent every year – reducing it should be a priority.
Investing in family farms also means combating poverty. In West Africa, small farmers make up more than half of the working population. Unfortunately, these farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk – those who feed us – are the most affected by poverty, the effects of climate change, soaring prices, etc.
Eighty per cent of people living in hunger are farmers. This is unacceptable.
To help them escape poverty is to offer them a future!
As artists, throughout our careers, we have all committed ourselves to defending our people, our land, our earth… We all have relatives who are farmers, but now, instead of them providing for us, we must support them! If our earth no longer feeds our parents, what are we leaving for our children?
The voices of local farmers and pastoralists must be heard by our leaders so that in 2014 the portion of the national budgets allocated to agriculture will increase and directly benefit small family farms.
We respectfully call upon our African leaders to fulfil their commitment and invest more and better in family farming to offer a better future to the generations to come!
Baaba Maal (Senegal)2 Face Idibia (Nigeria)Smarty (Burkina Faso)Lami Phillips (Nigeria)Daara J Family (Senegal)Sound Sultan (Nigeria)Danny Lee (Niger)Ceepee (Mauritania)
Maputo 10 on social media
- Twitter: @taclonslafaim and @oxfam, hashtag #GROW
- Facebook: Let’s Tackle hunger
- Websites: http://maputo10.ipar.sn/ and www.oxfam.org/GROW