Brussels, Belgium, October 2, 2013 – At the Brussels Development Briefing in Belgium, attended by over 150 delegates, the fundamental question on what transformation has taken place in African agriculture ten years after adopting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), was brought to the fore.
The sharing happened within the context of a reflection on the achievements and lessons from ten years of CAADP implementation with the objective to highlight lessons including issues and key drivers for transformation of African agriculture.
Mr Martin Bwalya, the NEPAD Head of CAADP said that, “Agriculture is back on the development agenda and the way to keep it there is by demonstrating results.” Mr Bwalya outlined some of the positive strides in transforming African agriculture during the last ten years as including the evident improved planning at national level; aligning public financing; coherent common vision and agenda on agriculture as well as strengthening of the policy design processes and growing attention to institutional and human capital development. He noted the compelling need for a transformational shift towards an “agriculture” which first-and-fore-most is motivated and driven by the urged to expand agricultural value in the creation of jobs and wealth into the national economy. Local leadership informed and engaged public, sound regional trade and market strategies are imperative components in the winning formula for agriculture transformation.
Also speaking in the same panel, Mr Kalilou Sylla, Executive Secretary of the Network of Farmers and Agriculture Producers Organisations of West Africa, stressed that ten years is not enough time to quantify the changes brought on since the Maputo endorsement of CAADP, but CAADP nonetheless provides a clear mechanism for strategic planning in agriculture.
In his opening remarks, Mr Michael Hailu, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Director, also reiterated the fact that by adopting CAADP ten years ago, African Heads of State put agriculture at the centre of the development agenda. Mr Hailu also emphasised that CTA and NEPAD’s collaboration in a number of areas that include support for smallholder farmers, will lead to positive results in growing agriculture as a key driver for broad-based social and economic growth.
The thirty third Brussels Briefing, organised by CTA, the European Commission, the African, Carribean and Pacific Group of States Secretariat and Concord in partnership with NEPAD, consisted of policy deliberations that also brought out proven successes and best practices in African agriculture.
Mr Steve Wiggins from the Overseas Development Institute maintained that food production in Africa is not as bad as it is made out to be. Mr Wiggins highlighted the example of agricultural growth in West Africa, at an average of 4 per cent a year in the last thirty years as surpassing a number of regions in the world, including some parts of Asia and South America.
Mr Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute, concluded his presentation by maintaining that, “Agricultural growth is not just growth in the sector alone, but also results in economic growth.” Some of the other conclusions of the Briefing in Brussels included the need to create an enabling environment for investment and innovation; and investing in rural public goods, amongst others.
Ten years on, forty three African countries are now focussing on investment for growth in agriculture through the CAADP process. “The next coming years will therefore see the positioning of ‘wealth creation’ as the primary driver for transformation in Africa,” Mr Bwalya said.