Campaigning and advocacy organization ONE.org recently launched one of the continent’s biggest musical collaborations, ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’ in support of a new campaign to boost investments in agriculture: ‘Do Agric, It Pays’. The on-going campaign brought together 19 top recording artists across Africa to compose a song ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’ that revolutionizes Agriculture and encourages African youth to invest in Agriculture for its good pay.
According to ONE.org Media manager, Nde Ndifona, it is their priority to cover and select artists from all African countries to participate in the campaign. “The artists on the song represent the 5 regions in Africa: East, Central, West, North and Southern Africa. We are continuing to engage with as many countries as possible as it is a long campaign, and we will have Batswana artists somewhere too,” she revealed.
The campaign seeks to get Governments to commit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments through transparent and accountable budgets. At the heart of the Do Agric campaign is an effort to push political leaders to adopt better policies that will boost productivity, increase incomes and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty.
Asked if their approach to sensitize people about Agriculture will appeal to every African country she said, “The campaign is multi-faceted. We try as much as possible to mix strategies such as this with country-sensitive and country-specific activities including high-level inside lobbying, consultation fora with farmers that enable them to get their voices to the policy making table and joint empowerment activities with local farmers’ organizations and other relevant grassroots organizations.”
Participating artists who will be using their voices to inspire the youth include 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 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 is time for African leaders to scale up public investments in agriculture and ensure policy interventions are targeted to benefit smallholder farmers who provide 80% of the food we eat on the continent,” said ONE.Org Executive Director, Dr Sipho Moyo.
For his part Nigerian artist D’Banj aka Koko Master said, “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. 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.”
“Farming is really cool. In our country we have young talented people who are trying to get into the industry like mining. Meanwhile farming is such a great business to get into, it pays, literally. Our government has made the promise to support agriculture. Let us make them keep the promises. This project is about different artists, different genres of music coming together, saying we stand together as one,” said South Africa’s Judith Sephuma.
The song, ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’, refers to the importance of agriculture both to Africa’s future and in the fight against extreme poverty. It was co-produced by Cobhams Asuquo and DeeVee of DB Records. Godfather Productions directed the music video campaigning and advocacy organization that launched April 3 on Trace, MTV, Channel O, Soundcity and Canal France International. The verses were written by each participating artist and the hook was written by D’Banj, whose company, DKM Media partnered with ONE to undertake the project. The song and music video were recorded and shot over three days in Johannesburg, South Africa. The song is available for download for free at www.ONE.org after signing the ‘Do Agric’ petition that tells African leaders to invest in our farmers, our food, and our futures.