- On December 31, 2014
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SEND-GHANA, under the auspices of the Grow Campaign joined other Civil Society Organisations and Producer Associations across Africa and beyond in April, 2014 to endorse a’ Joint Policy Recommendation ‘ titled “From Rhetoric to Action: Towards a Transformed Agriculture and Food Secure Africa” to express a strong civil society position on African governments’ commitments to more and better investment in agriculture. The initiative was led by ONE.
Excepts of the recommendation is reproduced below;
Quantity of agriculture spending: Effective agriculture investments through transparent and accountable budgets.
The African Union and all Regional Economic Communities (RECs) should adopt a target-based timeline and mechanism for monitoring progress towards reaching the 10% budget commitment to agriculture. Governments that have not yet reached the 10% budget target should set timelines for doing so, and all governments need to identify mechanisms, including budget readjustments and reallocation, to mobilise the extra domestic resources needed for agriculture. Possibilities include reducing military spending, ending illegal capital flight and tax evasion, and increasing prudence in current spending to avoid unnecessary wastage.
Quality of agriculture spending
Public spending also needs to take into account the diversity of small-scale producers, agro-ecological conditions, local needs and production systems. In particular, priority should be given to investmL2ents in effective services and public goods tailored to small-scale producers, especially women, and these groups should be involved in the management of these services.
Examples should include: extension services, knowledge generation and R&D (including on ecological agriculture), small-scale water harvesting and irrigation, veterinary services, road and shipping networks, processing facilities, telecommunications, farmer-to-farmer training and farmer field schools, water storage, storage facilities, community seed banks, and inputs. Furthermore, governments should ensure support to small-scale producers by ensuring that the sourcing of public procurement is from small-scale producers, with particular emphasis on those practicing ecological farming. CAADP should also be aligned to and integrate the AU’s Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa, to ensure the specific needs of pastoralist communities are met through appropriate investments and services.
Effective, mutually accountable and participatory agricultural policy making under CAADP
The next 10 years of CAADP should be underlined by a clear commitment to inclusivity and multi-stakeholder ownership. Leaders should deepen their commitment to engaging farmers, businesses, civil society and other non-state actors in the design, implementation and monitoring of agriculture plans, with particular emphasis on women. The last 10 years has severely lacked the constructive involvement of the non-state actors in key decision making steps and levels in the CAADP process. The second generation of CAADP must have at its centre a reaffirmation of the founding CAADP principle of ‘inclusive participation’, which should be achieved through a clear and institutionalized framework of engagement. Through increased participation, governments can better serve their populations, improve results, and make the sector more dynamic and sustainable.
Transparency of agriculture spending
Ministries in the agriculture sector, and related ministries, should be more accountable for results, including on poverty reduction and environmental sustainability, rather than outputs. Ministries should demonstrate how they will address current internal inefficiencies that prevent governments from spending their budgetary allocations. Governments should invest more in adequate staff training and capacity building in the agriculture sector and improve coor¬dination between and among Ministries by learning from best practice elsewhere, including the knowledge of farmers themselves.
Eliminate the gender and youth gap in agriculture
“It is estimated that even if women simply had the same access to productive resources such as land and seed as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 25–30 %. This would raise agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4 % and reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12–17 %”
This wide and pervasive gender gap in agriculture affects women’s incomes, their children’s opportunities, and the availability of food in their wider communities. Existing agricultural policies need to become better attuned to the issues important to female farmers, and new policies and programmes must be designed and implemented to address their needs.
They should include such measures as strengthening women’s land rights, providing community-based child care, promoting the productivity of crops grown by women, investing more in labour-saving devices and to involve women in research design and dissemination. Credit schemes need to be reformed to target larger numbers of women farmers. Input subsidy programmes, where these are appropriate, need to have better targeting to ensure that women have at least equal access.
Extension services need to better attune to women’s particular schedules and needs. Gender goals for each CAADP pillar and gender-disaggregated data needs to be produced or enhanced to support women and to monitor the effectiveness of policies. In order to implement these measures, agriculture spending and policy should focus on women farmers by dedicating specific budget lines to them. Greater steps should be taken to ensure that women are treated equally under the law and in practice, especially on secure land access, control and ownership.
Strengthen small-scale producers land rights through improved resources for land governance and adoption and implementation of the AU ‘Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa’
There is need to ensure that small-scale producers are enabled to increase security over the land they use. National leaders and policy makers must therefore improve tenure security over communal lands and individual plots, particularly for the poor and vulnerable.
The worrying trend of “land grabs” needs to be curbed through mandatory adoption and implementation of the AU Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Committee on World Food Security Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure. This should ensure that land investments are negotiated in a transparent way and protect the rights of smallholders and stop large scale land-grabbing. Implementation of these policies should include significant investment in building the knowledge, capacity of and legal support for communities on the issue of land tenure.
Increase investment in demand-driven agriculture research, development and extension advisory services
African leaders must prioritise research and development (R&D) and advisory services, committing at least 4% of agriculture budgets to R&D. Farming advisory and training (or ‘extension’) services can be vital in providing and sharing information on ways to improve farm productivity.
There is need to reorient agricultural research services to ensure these are driven by the imperative to increase food and nutrition security and improve livelihoods and are relevant for women producers. Particular attention should be given to addressing the loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, water pollution and climate change associated with intensified agriculture by prioritising agro-ecological approaches which privilege traditional knowledge.
Significant investments should be made in training extension agents, including women, to ensure that advice and training is provided on the issues that matter to small-scale producers.
Top-down approaches to R&D must cease and governments should develop mechanisms to ensure the broad participation of farmers’ groups in research design and implementation and to ensure they are based on the real needs of farmers. Research institutions must have measurable targets established by local- and country-level needs assessments. They must support research partnerships involving collaboration among poor farming communities, extension services, and agricultural scientists.
Foster access to markets for small-scale farmers, investment in small-scale farming, and responsible private sector investments
Creating incentives for small-scale farmers and processors as well as other private sector companies to invest in African agri-food markets can create well-paying entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for youth and women as well as access to new markets for farmers to sell their crops.
In order to realise the benefits of increased coordination and activity along the value chain, public investment must be made in areas such as hard infrastructure and essential knowledge and information services. Farmers need reliable access to new markets, meaning investment in the support services that will increase their competitiveness.
Thus African leaders must ensure that public investment is directed towards important public goods beyond the Ministry of Agriculture budget, such as rural road network improvement, power generation, water-harvesting and irrigation schemes that reach small-scale farmers.
Governments should recognise and strengthen the local and informal markets which small-scale producers depend upon, including through better local storage facilities, infrastructure tailored to local markets, and localised processing facilities, allowing smallholders to take advantage of better market prices.
Governments should also recognise and support the development of cooperatives and farming networks to improve small-scale producers negotiating power, as well as the clustering of smallholder farmers to facilitate economies of scale in input purchase, value-addition, marketing and information sharing within the small-scale farming sector. Strengthening and expanding regional or African bilateral trade agreements could harness the substantial activity of local and regional markets.
Domestic agricultural markets in Africa are valued at $50 billion per year compared to $16.6 billion for traditional agricultural export markets. It is vital that CAADP prioritises and incentivises the implementation of regional and continental trade agreements, with particular emphasis on how they will target and benefit small-scale producers.
Integrate sustainability and climate resilience into national agriculture plans
African governments should incorporate sustainability; climate resilience and agro-ecology into their agriculture sector strategies and develop recommendations for achieving this. Governments need to step up investments in sustainable agriculture and develop a national strategy for encouraging larger number of farmers to practice agro-ecological farming approaches that reduce dependence on chemical inputs and increase biodiversity, while ensuring sustainable returns.
Put in place mechanisms for preventing and managing the recurrent food and nutrition crisis
Over the past decades the livelihoods of millions of people in Africa have been deteriorating due to recurrent and severe food crisis. Malnutrition has been affecting millions of children with rates close to emergency thresholds. African governments must implement effective mechanisms for better management and prevention. These mechanisms should integrate effective early warning systems to monitor the vulnerability of people in order to anticipate food crisis and to put in place adapted responses. Given the difficult access to food for vulnerable people Africa governments have to develop and put in place adequate food reserves and social protection schemes integrated into agriculture policies and programmes.
Daniel Adotey, Agriculture Programme Officer, SEND-GHANA