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Provisional list of actions required to achieve success in agricultural development under NEPAD

The ideas in this section came from consultations in Africa organised for NEPAD by the South African National Department of Agriculture.

National Level

i) Increasing capacity to support farmer productivity

Highlight the important role that agriculture plays in food security and economic welfare of rural people affecting over 70 percent of the population in most African countries. Set targets for the required capacities and deliverables. Governments should commit themselves to review their national research and extension systems and implement the reforms required to improve national research capacity and efficiency. Extensive reviews and analyses of national agricultural research systems in Africa over the past 20 years indicate that funding for agricultural research will need to double from the current allocation of US$ 1 billion annually in the next 10 years. The additional funding is required to train scientists, with more at PhD level (a target of 12,000 scientists compared to the present 8,000 has been recommended), rehabilitate and restructure research institutions and to strengthen the extension services.

ii) Establishment of partnership between public and private sector for increased investment

Promote collaboration between the public and private sectors in post-harvest management - storage, distribution, processing and marketing, should be given strong emphasis and support. The public and private sectors should be encouraged to share costs and risks to assist smallholders in the adoption of new technology through poverty reduction programmes and debt relief. Increased attention should be given to national food security programmes during discussions regarding poverty reduction and debt relief. There should also be a commitment to use matching grants or other appropriate interventions to assist smallholders in adopting new technology when needed, while taking due care to minimize distortions.

iii) Increase the efficiency and use of water supply for agriculture

By establishing small-scale irrigation facilities, improving local water management, and increasing the exchange of information and technical know-how with other countries in the region.

iv) Improve the security of land tenure for traditional and modern farming.

By introducing appropriate land reform.

v) Enhance agricultural credit and financing schemes

Through improvement of access to credit by small-scale and women farmers.

Regional Level

Review the structures and programmes of regional and sub-regional institutions. Where appropriate establish research programmes and/or institutions on specific crops and livestock species. Seek to increase funding for early warning systems, where such exist, or solicit new funds to establish such facilities. Ensure that strategies are in place for food emergencies. Promote intra-and inter-regional trade by adopting international sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards and by reducing, or eliminating tariffs on cross-border trade through harmonisation of agricultural policies and strengthening of regional synergies developed under the south-south co-operation.

International Level

Establish capacity to:

Key issues to be considered in implementing the CAADP

Building on a solid knowledge base

The national strategies in many countries offer a sound base already in place to develop programmes and projects, which reflect the collective aspirations of their people.

There are also now the regional agricultural strategies based on the findings and key policy recommendations emerging from the national strategies of the member countries of such organisations. At the regional level the strategies have been developed further into regional programmes for food security to complement the national efforts.

Deepening policy reform

Policy reform and harmonisation and complementarily with sectors other than agriculture is needed, in order to help lift agriculture and household income onto a higher growth path. In the light of the decision by African Heads of State to dissolve the OAU and create an African Union based on, among other things, the principles of effective economic governance, there is now an opportunity to articulate Agricultural Policies and imperatives at a continental level.

Work will need to be undertaken to establish the building blocks towards the establishment of institutional capacity for deepening policy reform. Uppermost in the action steps is the need for a forum of Ministers of Agriculture on the African continent to serve as a decision making body that then reports to the relevant organ of the African Union. Such a council would need to have the necessary supporting technical structures and appropriate leadership for the pillars of the CAADP.

Access to and investment in land and water resources

Land distribution is considered to be a potent instrument for poverty reduction. Small farms provide steady livelihood for the poor, use labour intensively, and can be highly productive if macro-economic policies are right as has been demonstrated by a number of Asian countries. Secure property rights create incentives for long term investment and sustainable land use. Policies supporting equitable distribution of land, in some Asia and Latin American countries have been shown to improve access to credit, boost agricultural productivity and reduce poverty. In this regard, gender bias and obstacles to women's access to land deserves priority attention and prompt actions. Despite lingering constraints and difficulties, agrarian reform programmes have already been initiated in some African countries. Another lingering constraint in many African countries is the fragmentation of holdings a major competitive disadvantage under the new environment of market liberalisation.

Problems and issues associated with water resources are varied and complex. The problem of water access in Africa and particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa is not the quantity of water available but its uneven distribution across regions, seasons, gender, and income groups. Competing demand for urban households versus the rural areas, and industrial uses versus agriculture are increasingly causing social tensions. This tension is also apparent across national boundaries in some of the major river basins of Africa. Low efficiency in water use is also a major constraint. In North Africa where dependence on surface and underground water is very high rate of water resource degradation, e.g. underground water mining and water pollution are an increasing threat to future sustainability of agricultural production in the region.

NEPAD can benefit from taking stock of the proposed Africa land and water initiative under CAADP and the integrated land and water management action programme led by the World Bank.

Capitalizing on existing initiatives

There are various national and sub-regional initiatives which are currently at the resource mobilization stage as well as regional research centres in Africa where a lot of experiences and achievements must be energised through NEPAD.

The challenge is to identify which ones relate most closely to the pillars of the CAADP; internationally, examples are the World Bank's strategy document for sustainable rural development; the FAO Special Programme for Food Security; the programmes of the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA).

Facilitating investment

There is an urgent need to increase domestic savings rates in Africa. According to the World Bank gross domestic savings rates in many countries are barely 5 percent or less of the GDP, relative to levels of 20 percent or more in even poor Asian countries. Improving rural people's access to credit and improving rural financial infrastructure will help mobilise savings. Most of the private sector, on-farm investment will have to come from farmers' own current income. An increase in both public and private agricultural investment therefore depends fundamentally on rising earnings and savings for farmers.

Agricultural Credit versus Rural Financial Services

Improved access to durable financial intermediation services may facilitate the financing of viable investments, can enhance the productivity of assets, and thus enables rural people to make better use of existing resources such as land, labour, and management skills. These should learn from the performance of earlier schemes that have failed to prove sustainable.

Importance of Domestic Savings Deposit Services

In the new market environment there is a trade-off between the requirements of rural households to have access to durable financial services at reasonable costs and the difficult challenge which financial institutions face to cover fully the high costs and risks which are associated with rural financial intermediation. There is evidence, however, that viable and sustainable rural financial institutions are able to service low-income rural clients, both directly by increasing their outreach as well as indirectly by financing larger entrepreneurs and facilitating local employment creation. Therefore, initiatives, which support the operation of viable and competitive financial services providers in rural areas, are extremely important.

At all-Africa level, some estimates suggest that for each dollar of capital inflow to Sub-Sahara Africa from the rest of the world, a dollar and six cents flowed out - this needs priority attention.

Adequate Rural Finance Policies and Investment Finance Strategies

An enabling environment, right policies, the availability of profitable rural investment opportunities, and the capability of local communities and clients themselves to plan and use their money effectively are equally critical in the process of developing effective rural financial services.

Strategies for Resource Mobilization

Developing a communication strategy

NEPAD agriculture opportunities need to be "sold" and promoted. Therefore, a communications activity is essential for constituency building for agriculture and for drawing the attention of potential investors to opportunities. It must be done early. Creating awareness of opportunities should be targeted at all investors but also at niche mechanisms and instruments such as (for research) the World Bank initiative on African Agricultural Research and Development (Increasing Effectiveness and Financial Sustainability). This initiative aims to increase the effectiveness of agricultural research through institutional and financial reforms of the African Technology Development and Transfer System (TDT).

On ground implementation of projects

This needs to follow prioritisation at national and subregional levels.

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