||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. The purpose of their special follow-up session was to review an earlier draft of this document – the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) - prepared by FAO in co-operation with the NEPAD Steering Committee. Extracts from the report of their meeting are produced as Annex 1. It can be seen that the Conference welcomed and endorsed the CAADP and agreed on the need to quickly operationalise it; it offered guidance to member governments on a wide range of aspects of operationalisation and action to revitalise African agriculture. What follows is the full CAADP document after some adjustment to reflect some comments received on the version presented to the Ministers, including their desire to see research included as a pillar for action.
Clearly, a programme on agriculture must remain open to continuing improvement and also be open to interpretation for each of Africa’s sub-regions in order to best address that continent’s diversity. This document therefore offers a broad frame of priorities from which more precise strategies and programmes can be derived for operationalisation.
Africa is a rural continent and agriculture is extremely important to it. For the region as a whole, the agricultural sector accounts for about 60 percent of the total labour force, 20 percent of total merchandise exports and 17 percent of GDP. The latest figures (for 1997-99) show that some 200 million people – or 28 percent of Africa’s population – are chronically hungry, compared to 173 million in 1990-92. While the proportion of the population facing hunger is dropping slightly, the absolute numbers are rising inexorably. During the 1990’s, declines in the number of hungry people have been registered in only 10 countries. At the end of the 1990’s, 30 countries reported that over 20 percent of their population was undernourished and in 18 of these, over 35 percent of the population was chronically hungry. As of 2001, about 28 million people in Africa were facing food emergencies due to droughts, floods and strife, of which some 25 million needed emergency food and agricultural assistance. To reflect its particularly difficult situation, the World Food Programme - which accounts for two-fifths of international food aid - has spent US$12.5 billion (45 percent of its total investment since its establishment) in Africa and 50 percent of its investment in 2001. Food aid indicates considerable external dependency: in 2000 Africa received 2.8 million tons of food aid, which is over a quarter of the world total.
In line with the rise in the number of hungry, there has been a progressive growth in food imports in the last years of the 20th century, with Africa spending an estimated US$18.7 billion in 2000 alone. Imports of agricultural products have been rising faster than exports since the 1960s and Africa as a whole has been a net agricultural importing region since 1980. Agriculture accounts for about 20 percent of total merchandise exports from Africa, having declined from over 50 percent in the 1960s.
Until the incidence of hunger is brought down and the import bill reduced by raising the output of farm products which the region can produce with comparative advantage, it will be difficult to achieve the high rates of economic growth to which NEPAD aspires. People suffering from hunger are marginalised within the economy, contributing little to output and still less to demand. Investing in the reduction of hunger is a moral imperative but it also makes economic sense. Agriculture-led development is fundamental to cutting hunger, reducing poverty (70 percent of which is in rural areas), generating economic growth, reducing the burden of food imports and opening the way to an expansion of exports.
Areas of Primary Action
As currently formulated, the proposed initiatives under the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) focus on investment in three “pillars” that can make the earliest difference to Africa’s agricultural crisis, plus a fourth long-term pillar for research and technology. The fundamental mutually reinforcing pillars on which to base the immediate improvement of Africa’s agriculture, food security and trade balance are:
Extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems . Reliance on irregular and unreliable rainfall for agricultural production is a major constraint on crop productivity; rain-fed agriculture is moreover often unable to permit high-yield crop varieties to achieve their full production potential. Accordingly, it is of concern that for Africa the percentage of arable land that is irrigated is 7 percent (barely 3.7 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa) while the corresponding percentages for South America, East and South-East Asia and South Asia are 10 percent, 29 percent and 41 percent respectively. Furthermore, in Africa 16 percent of all soils are classified as having low nutrient reserves while in Asia the equivalent figure is only 4 percent; moreover, fertiliser productivity (expressed in terms of maize yield response) in Africa is estimated at some 36 percent lower than in Asia and 92 percent lower than in developed countries. Building up soil fertility and the moisture holding capacity of agricultural soils and rapidly increasing the area equipped with irrigation, especially small-scale water control, will not only provide farmers with opportunities to raise output on a sustainable basis but also will contribute to the reliability of food supplies.
Improving rural infrastructure and trade -related capacities for market access. Improvements in roads, storage, markets, packaging and handling systems, and input supply networks, are vital to raising the competitiveness of local production vis-à-vis imports and in export markets. Investment in these areas will stimulate the volume of production and trade, thereby assisting to generate an appropriate rate of return on needed investments in ports and airport facilities. In general, Africa urgently needs infrastructure improvements for development, given that it faces the longest distances to the nearest large markets and that a fifth of its population is landlocked. Its rail freight is under 2 percent of the world total, the marine freight capacity is 11 percent (much being foreign owned but registered for convenience in Africa), and air freight is less than 1 percent; similarly, its power generation capacity per capita is less than half of that in either Asia or Latin America. In parallel with improvements in infrastructure within Africa, adjustments are needed in the promotion and support (including subsidy) policies of developed countries. Exporting countries within the region need to raise their capacity to participate in trade negotiations and to meet the increasingly stringent quality requirements of world trade.
Increasing food supply and reducing hunger. Africa currently lags behind all other regions in terms of farm productivity levels, with depressed crop and livestock yields and limited use of irrigation and other inputs. By accessing improved technology – much of which is simple and relatively low in cost – small farmers can play a major role in increasing food availability close to where it is most needed, raising rural incomes and expanding employment opportunities, as well as in contributing to a growth in exports. This requires improved farm support services, pilot projects targeted at poor communities and a supportive policy environment.
A sub-component of this pillar is for investment to respond to the growing frequency and severity of disasters and emergencies; it calls for some attention to the fact that rapid humanitarian interventions followed by rehabilitation are required before normal development can resume. IFAD recently observed that in addition to natural disasters, over 50 countries were facing or had recently undergone civil or cross-border conflicts, including some 20 of the poorest countries. As a result, more aid is being diverted to emergency relief than to necessary long-term development; IFAD also noted a troubling gap in the transition from relief to development1. There is need for action to ensure that short-term interventions are followed up by long-term development. Furthermore, achieving an immediate impact on hunger also requires that the production-related investments be complemented by targeted safety nets. Failure to attend to unpredictable needs and to providing safety nets can easily derail long-term development. However, the actuarial basis for dimensioning investment is too weak. For lack of better information, therefore, Africa at this stage needs to provide at least some US$3 billion annually (proposed until 2015). Together, the “investment” in safety nets and humanitarian / emergency food and agriculture would require some US$42 billion between 2002 and 2015.
Further, to provide the scientific underpinning necessary for long-term productivity and competitiveness, there is a fourth pillar, namely:
Agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption. This long-term pillar, which aims at achieving accelerated gains in productivity, will require: (a) an enhanced rate of adoption for the most promising available technologies, to support the immediate expansion of African production through the more efficient linking of research and extension systems to producers; (b) technology delivery systems that rapidly bring innovations to farmers and agribusinesses, thereby making increased adoption possible, notably through the appropriate use of new information and communication technologies; (c) renewing the ability of agricultural research systems to efficiently and effectively generate and adapt new knowledge and technologies, including biotechnology, to Africa, which are needed to increase output and productivity while conserving the environment; and (d) mechanisms that reduce the costs and risks of adopting new technologies. For the period 2002 – 2015, a total investment of some US$4.6 billion is estimated.
The implementation of the programme will be undertaken at regional level in co-operation with regional economic organisations and unions and also at national level. NEPAD can add value to national action by promoting the convergence of country programmes towards complementary or shared priorities. This would enable African producers to avoid inadvertently undermining each other in the international marketplace and, instead, collaboratively carve out a significant market share for selected products in which the region can be competitive.
Preliminary estimates suggest that the investment required in the main pillars between now and 2015 would have the orders of magnitude given below and in Table 2. Converting the investments into reality will involve the formulation of specific bankable projects, a task in which NEPAD may wish to involve its external partners as Africa pursues their implementation. The total outlay for the period 2002 to 2015 (including operations and maintenance) for the four pillars is some US$251 billion, apportioned as follows:
Extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems: Increasing the area under irrigation (new and rehabilitated) to 20 million ha and improving land management in the same area would require US$37 billion. Operation and maintenance would require an additional US$31 billion.
Improving rural infrastructure and trade -related capacities for market access: US$92 billion of which US$62 billion would be for rural roads and US$2.8 billion for trade-related capacities for improved market access. The protection of infrastructure investments would require additiona l allocations for continuing operation and maintenance, totalling some US$37 billion over the period.
Increasing food supply and reducing hunger: Raising the productivity of 15 million small farms through improved technology, services and policies: US$7.5 billion. There is a “sub-pillar” for emergencies and safety nets, requiring some US$42 billion.
Agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption: A total of US$4.6 billion.
The above implies an annual investment in core activities under the four “pillars” of some US$17.9 billion between 2002 and 2015, including operations and maintenance costs. As can be seen, the CAADP pays attention to safety nets and emergency-related food and agriculture.
It is noteworthy that the gross 2002-2015 investment requirement, at US$17.9 billion per annum, is equivalent to just over 90 percent of Africa’s annual cost of agricultural imports of nearly US$19 billion. The safety nets component of this investment includes programmes such as school-feeding, designed to increase school attendance, especially for girls, and to provide nutritious food to the poorest of Africa’s school age children. Table 4 shows one scenario of investment apportioned among various main sources.
Africa’s Contribution to Investment
It is believed that an important part of the required funding can come from investments by the beneficiaries themselves and from domestic resource mobilisation. For many countries, however, additional Official Development Assistance (ODA) and private inflows will be required, in line with the spirit of Monterrey. Indeed, in connection with Monterrey, the three Rome-based UN agencies for food and agriculture issued a joint statement communicating a vision of shared responsibility2.
Africa’s own commitment to funding agriculture should be seen against a background of re-emerging international recognition that the funding of agriculture is vital for sustainable development. Worldwide, industrial countries (which can easily do without agriculture and still prosper), continue to finance their agricultural sectors heavily. Yet Africa, with some 70-80 percent of its people dependent on this sector, is withdrawing state support from the sector; the evidence is that the consequences are grave. Financing for agriculture under this NEPAD CAADP is therefore based on the dual assumption that Africa itself will increase its level of investment and that its external partners will come forward and support it.
On this basis, the CAADP presents a preliminary estimation of what Africa itself can reasonably afford to invest, leaving the rest to be raised at the international level. The broad assumptions given in Chapter 1 suggest that Africa should progressively increase its domestic contribution to agricultural investment from a current base estimated at somewhere over 35 percent to some 55 percent by 2015. Under this scenario, Africa’s expected contributions to investment under NEPAD agriculture could be summarised as shown in Tables 1 and 4. These estimates exceed by a considerable margin the levels of investment observed to date (see Appendix Table 9). It should be noted that the African share covers both public and private funding. To achieve the suggested increase in practice will require the deliberate insertion of NEPAD allocations into national and regional economic groupings’ budgets; more importantly, it will require putting in place policies that can make agricultural investments attractive to both the region’s own private sector and to international capital.
Enabling Conditions for Action
Much of the investment under the main pillars is into the “hardware” of development – it is intended to respond to the crisis situation facing African agriculture. Yet Africa also needs to address many other “software” issues if it is to permanently reverse the declining trends of the agricultural sector. A brief outline of these “software” concerns – many focused on creating an enabling environment3 - is presented in Chapter 1.
In the preamble, it has been stressed that ena bling factors require medium to long term attention and that Africa needs to continue paying attention to them even now when rapid action may appear to be all that is needed. It has also been said that the rapid action proposed is possible because there is already some available capacity, technology and enabling policy/institutional factors upon which the priority investment pillars approach can be based. Thus in justifying the focus on investment for action under the mutually reinforcing “pillars” that can make the earliest difference to Africa’s dire situation, the preamble has stated that science and technology, policy and institutional reform, capacity building and other long-term enabling factors should be integrated into the implementation of all the “pillars”.
It is an underlying assumption that the creation of enabling conditions will go hand in hand with investment, otherwise it becomes an empty exercise, with little hope of success or of acceptance by Africa. Thus, for example, to a considerable degree due to lack of accompanying investment, the decades-long efforts at structural adjustment of African economies, policies and institutions have shown few discernible benefits, except in isolated cases.
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