Consideration of the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme by the Meeting of African Ministers of Agriculture
FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy
(9th June 2002)
African Ministers of Agriculture met at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy on 9th June 2002 under the auspices of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, which held the special follow-up session meeting to review the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) prepared by FAO in co-operation with the NEPAD Steering Committee.
At its substantive session held in Cairo, Egypt 4-8 February 2002, the Twenty-second Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa had discussed the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and, inter alia, through resolution ARC/02/RES recommended that FAO extend support to the NEPAD process.
The Conference noted that the CAADP was designed in recognition of the fact that African agriculture faces a major crisis, with large numbers of people facing food shortages, net dependency on imports and food aid, and frequent disasters requiring emergency food and agriculture interventions. In view of this crisis situation, the CAADP focussed on investment into three mutually reinforcing "pillars" that can make the earliest difference to Africa's situation, which are: (i) extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems; (ii) improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for improved market access ; and (iii) increasing food supply and reducing hunger in Africa.
The first pillar focuses on irrigation and water management in order to disengage African agriculture from dependence on unpredictable rainfall; the second one promotes rural infrastructure to reduce the cost of providing inputs and of extracting produce thus making African agriculture more competitive; the third pillar stresses direct promotion of more productive ways of agriculture especially among small-scale farmers, both male and female, the poorest segment of the society. The CAADP also pays attention to the growing frequency and severity of disasters and emergencies with disruptive effects of food and agricultural situations and to the need for better market access for Africa's products both internally and globally.
To combat these ills afflicting Africa's agriculture and to achieve the sector's early revival, the CAADP proposes investment till 2015 of about US$241 billion, including provision for maintenance and operations (US$69 billion), and funding for emergencies and safety nets (US$35 billion); of this total it has been suggested in the CAADP that Africa itself could potentially fund about half the total needs. These estimates were also presented in terms of the immediate future 2002-2005 of some US$56 billion; the short term 2006-2010 at US$97 billion; and the medium term 2011-2015 at US$88 billion. The annual average investment is, at US$17 billion, lower than Africa's annual agricultural import bill.
The Conference welcomed and endorsed the CAADP and agreed on the need to quickly operationally it. It offered guidance to member governments on a wide range of aspects of operationalisation and action to revitalise African agriculture. Its report, which is in a draft being finalised, states:
SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL CONSIDERATIONS
By way of areas of emphasis, the Conference:
- Underscored its belief that as the mainstay of the African economy, agriculture should be mainstreamed and linked to development of other sectors and programmes under NEPAD. It also called for agriculture to adopt environmentally sustainable practices.
- Emphasised that the implementation of the NEPAD activities be carried out in an integrated manner and in full collaboration with individual countries as well as with the existing regional and sub-regional institutions.
- Recognised the need to address issues of concern to small island states, of land-locked countries and of those threatened with land degradation and desertification.
- Highlighted the importance of developing the institutional and human capacity and the involvement of small producers, and particularly rural women in the NEPAD process.
- Requested that sub-sectors of fisheries, livestock, and forestry be given adequate attention in the NEPAD efforts.
- Called for political commitment to address areas of potential conflict and development of mechanisms for management of shared natural resources, including water.
Noting the commitment of Africa under NEPAD to take responsibility for its own development, the Conference addressed its recommendations principally to the Governments of Africa and to its Regional Economic Organisations. It recommended:
- As the next step, to prepare a plan of action incorporating national and regional plans, to include the timeframe for the implementation of the programme, as well as the specification of the expected outputs and performance indicators.
- To prepare projects for financing at the regional, sub-regional and national levels under the framework of the CAADP priorities and that in doing this, attention be given to country and sub-regional diversity.
- To devise a concerted strategy involving the Ministers for Agriculture, Finance and Planning for raising the funding of agriculture and rural development in order to enhance the proper funding of NEPAD agriculture-related programmes. In this connection, the Meeting noted that a target of 25 percent of annual national budget was adopted by the 21st Regional Conference for Africa held in Yaoundé in February 2000. The countries should also approach traditional and new partners for supporting African efforts in implementing the CAADP.
- To highlight and incorporate agricultural research into the CAADP while exploring the possibility of creating sub-regional centres of excellence and an agricultural trust-fund for research and development.
- That the NEPAD Steering Committee, operating through the initiating country responsible for agriculture - currently Egypt - establish a committee to follow-up this Ministerial Meeting in order to provide political oversight, monitor the implementation of CAADP and to facilitate the engagement of all countries in the future NEPAD developments on agriculture.
- To cast the NEPAD efforts for development within the framework of the countries' poverty reduction and food security strategies, which are presently the most agreed upon frameworks for country-owned initiatives targeted at poverty reduction.
- To prepare a proactive plan of action for enhancing the role and contribution of the private sector and civil society in the implementation of NEPAD agricultural programmes including in upstream and downstream agriculture-related activities.
Furthermore, the Conference:
- Drew attention to the serious intention and commitment of Africa to allocate increased domestic resources for agriculture and rural development and urged the international community to play its part in supporting African countries in formulating projects and programmes to bring to reality the continent's vision of a prosperous agriculture, thereby reducing hunger and poverty.
- Called upon FAO to maintain its co-operation with NEPAD Secretariat in the spirit of the Cairo Regional Conference resolution (ARC /02/RES) as the process moves towards operationalisation of Action Programmes."