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African Music Stars Unite To Revolutionize Agriculture

D'Banj cocoa

ONE.org (http://www.one.org) yesterday launched one of the continent’s biggest musical collaborations ever, ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’, in support of a new campaign to boost investments in agriculture: ‘Do Agric, It Pays’ (http://www.one.org/doagric).

Nineteen of the top recording artists from across Africa, including D’Banj and Femi Kuti from Nigeria, DR Congo’s Fally Ipupa, Cote d’Ivoire’s Tiken Jah Fakoly, Kenya’s Juliani, and South Africa’s Judith Sephuma, have come together to help rebrand agriculture and tell African youth that their future lies literally beneath their feet—and in their hands.

The participating artists are: A.Y. (Tanzania), Bufallo Souljah (Zimbabwe), Dama Do Bling (Mozambique), D’Banj (Nigeria), Diamond (Tanzania), Dontom (Nigeria), Fally Ipupa (DRC), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Juliani (Kenya), Kunle Ayo (Nigeria), Vusi Nova (South Africa), Liz Ogumbo (Kenya), Nancy G (Swaziland), Omawumi (Nigeria), Rachid Taha (Algeria), Tiken Jah Fakoly (Cote d’Ivoire), Victoria Kimani (Kenya) and Wax Dey (Cameroon).

These artists are using their voices to inspire young people to join ONE.org, and tell political leaders ahead of the African Union summit in June that the time has come to adopt better agricultural policies that will help tackle youth unemployment, provide better support to small holder farmers, boost productivity, increase value chains, and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty.

The song is available for download for free at http://www.one.org after signing the ‘Do Agric’ petition that tells African leaders to invest in our farmers, our food, and our futures.

Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, ONE.org Africa Executive Director, said: “These brilliant artists are role models who connect with African youths. Their voices, in support of African agriculture, are sending a powerful message to the young generation: it’s time for African leaders to scale up public investments in agriculture and ensure policy interventions are targeted to benefit smalholder farmers who provide 80% of the food we eat on the continent.

“According to the UN-FAO, agricultural growth is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors like mining and utilities. Do Agric is a continent-wide push to appeal to African governments to commit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments—a commitment they originally made in Maputo in 2003—and to do so through transparent and accountable budgets. We are indeed proud and greatly privileged to be partnering with such an inspiring group of individuals to spread the message that not only can Africa feed itself, but it can help to feed the world.”

“As African musicians, agriculture is the single most important cause we could champion together and I am proud to say we are doing it with ONE voice. Here in Nigeria alone, while 70% of Nigerians depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, the federal agriculture budget has been trending downwards, and is now at just 1.47%. This is a serious concern, especially because Nigeria spends billions of Naira importing food every year,” said Nigerian music superstar, D’banj.

“Through this song, we are calling on youths to go online and join ONE.org, to get more involved in agriculture, and to ask our governments to step up and improve agricultural investments, so that the youths can have a better chance of succeeding in it.”

These artists are joining ONE.org to show the current generation of young people that not only can agriculture be cool, but it is also a great way to earn a living. But without strong political will and public support for agriculture, African youth will not be able to take advantage of the potential that agriculture presents. ONE.org is partnering with the popular voices of African artists in calling on political leaders, private sector investors and the youth to “do agric”— because “it pays”.

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