Looking to the future: African’s agricultural transformation

ID-100158788ONE Campaign on the 29th January 2014 launched their Do Agric, It Pays campaign to urge African leaders to commit to spending 10% of national budgets on agriculture, a commitment 54 African countries agreed to in 2003 but only 8 followed through on. Building on the 2014 African Union Year of Agriculture and Food Security, the campaign is drawing on evidence that greater investment in agriculture could “help lift 85 million people out of extreme poverty by 2024, provide jobs, and boost the continent’s economy”.

Alongside the launch of this campaign, ONE have also published a new report, Ripe for Change: The Promise of Africa’s Agricultural Transformation, which discusses the need for reform of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), a package of policies developed to transform agriculture in Africa and accelerate economic development.

Despite having experienced steady and positive economic growth at an average of 5% per year, Africa desperately needs accelerated economic development if it is to cope with rapid population growth. The African population is projected to quadruple over the next 90 years. The role of agriculture in stimulating inclusive economic growth is significant. The World Bank calculated that agricultural growth is 2.5 times more likely to reduce poverty than growth in any other sector. In sub-Saharan Africa agricultural growth is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty.

To capitalise on agriculture’s potential to stimulate economic development, African governments in 2003 at the African Union Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, agreed to spend 10% of national budgets on agriculture and to achieve at least 6% average annual growth in the national agricultural sector. Under CAADP, governments agreed to develop country-specific agricultural development plans.

CAADP is a framework designed to add value to national and regional agricultural programmes. Fully African-led, the programme aims to help African countries achieve greater economic growth through agricultural development. CAADP also pursues the development of partnerships, cooperation between countries and the sharing of experiences across regions to maximise country-led plans.

Under CAADP, according to AU-NEPAD, by 2015, African leaders hope to see:

  • Dynamic agricultural markets within countries and between regions in Africa;
  • Farmers taking part in the market economy and enjoying good access to markets so that Africa, capitalising on its comparative and competitive advantages, becomes a net exporter of agricultural products;
  • A more equitable distribution of wealth for rural populations – in terms of higher real incomes and relative wealth. Rural populations will have more equitable access to land, physical and financial resources, and knowledge, information and technology for sustainable development;
  • Africa as a strategic player in agricultural science and technology, meeting the growing needs and demands of African agriculture; and
  • Environmentally sound agricultural production and a culture of sustainable management of natural resources as a result of better knowledge, more information and the application of technology.

Progress on CAADP to date has been mixed. Many countries have fallen short of targets set and failed to implement their country plans. Where they have been implemented they have failed to fully address priority issues such as gender or post-harvest losses and lack structures for accountability and monitoring. CAADP is not without its share of criticisms, for example the evaluation that CAADP’s model for agricultural development is one based on the Green Revolution model rather than one suited to smallholder farmers. But CAADP has led to many positive developments. National investment in agriculture has increased in many countries, even if not to target levels, many comprehensive national agricultural plans have been developed and agriculture’s visibility and importance has been boosted.

In July 2014, at the African Union Summit, African leaders will have a chance to discuss the progress of CAADP and its future.  New commitments will be made and reforms to CAADP are expected. ONE’s report aims to influence this process, highlighting those countries that have seen particular success in revitalising the agricultural sector, reviewing progress made by African countries including the challenges CAADP faces in the future and presenting a range of policy options for the reform of CAADP.

Although, policy, being context dependent, is best developed by those in the area, region or country, ONE has compiled policy recommendations based on successes and failures in implementing agricultural reforms and on consultations with various farmer, civil society and development groups.

1) Make time-bound commitments to meet the Maputo pledge of spending at least 10% on effective agriculture investments, through transparent and accountable budgets.

2) Eliminate the gender gap in agriculture.

3) Strengthen land governance and security of tenure rights.

4) Reduce barriers to intraregional trade.

5) Increase R&D investment to at least 1% of agricultural GDP and bolster extension services.

6) Integrate sustainability and climate resilience into national agriculture plans.

7) Prioritize reducing post-harvest loss in national agriculture plans.

8) Design nutrition goals into agriculture sector strategies.

9) Foster an enabling environment for smallholder integration and responsible private sector investment.

10) Accelerate implementation of agriculture plans and ensure pro-poor results for smallholder farmers.

While these policy options or lessons are quite general and far from unique, this doesn’t lessen their value. We hope these lessons will be taken into consideration in July 2014 and will be eagerly watching CAADP as it progresses into its next ten year phase.


  1. Reblogged this on Science on the Land and commented:
    argylesock says… Here’s an introduction to the ‘Africa owned, Africa led initiative’ called the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) http://www.nepad-caadp.net/

  2. Reblogged this on Old School Garden.

  3. These policy guidelines sound like a good idea for Anywhere! 🙂

  4. drbausman says:

    Reblogged this on Dr. B. A. Usman's Blog.

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