Findings of the NEPAD/IGAD Regional Conference on Agricultural Successes in the Greater Horn of Africa
Significant poverty reduction will not be possible in the Greater Horn of Africa without rapid agricultural growth. Only improved agricultural productivity can simultaneously improve welfare among the three-fourths of the population who work primarily in agriculture as well as the urban poor, who spend over 60% of their budget on food staples.
Regrettably, past performance has proven inadequate. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the only region of the developing world where per capita agricultural production has fallen over the past forty years. In spite of good progress in selected countries, such as Uganda, the Greater Horn as a region has underperformed the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Roughly 40% remain chronically hungry, even in good years, making it one of the poorest regions of Africa. The region remains chronically dependent on food aid as well as the only region in Africa where child malnutrition has increased over the past two decades. Clearly, the region must do better in the future than it has in the past.
For this reason, the African Heads of State and Government, through the Maputo Declaration in July 2003, have made agriculture a top priority and committed to increasing budget allocations to 10% of total outlays within five years.
Sluggish aggregate performance in the Greater Horn, however, masks a rich historical record of substantial agricultural successes. Though these episodic and scattered booms have proven insufficient to sustain aggregate per capita growth in agriculture, they do prove informative in pointing to promising areas for effective intervention in the future.
Having reviewed evidence on a series of successful efforts, in the region and without, this conference has identified a number of promising opportunities for accelerating agricultural growth in the region. These fall into four major categories:
Improving regional trade
harmonize trade regulations (export – import bans, safety standards, customs procedures, grades)
responsible key actors: COMESA, EAC, NEPAD
improve cross border infrastructure;
key actors: IGAD, EAC, COMESA, NEPAD
agricultural market information system
invest in horticulture for domestic, regional and export
request delay in implementing EUREP-GAP regulations
key actors: NEPAD
expand high productivity dairy cattle and goats including feed systems
support regional maize + cassava research
Community bright spots
Integrated natural resource management led by communities;
key actors: ILRI, ICRAF, FAO, ACT, NARS, ASARECA, IFAD
Network / learning alliance on participatory community development
key actors: IWMI as coordinator, ACT, NARS, ASARECA, ICRAF
Promote more Bright Spots + link it to the learning alliance; documentation of additional successes
R&D, linking Research and Extension
responsible actors: IGAD, NEPAD, IWMI, IFPRI, ASARECA, IFAD
Tissue culture as a technology
responsible persons: NEPAD , IGAD, AHarvest
Expand low-cost irrigation technology (esp. soil + water conservation technology) in the region
responsible persons: IGAD, IWMI, ASARECA, ICRAF, IFAD
promote farmer organizations and Public Private Partnership, IFAD
governments support and commitment to create a conducive policy environment, redefinition of roles of various stakeholders
We, the participants of this conference, believe these are priority proposals that offer significant opportunities for stimulating agricultural growth in the region. We also recognize that there are other important areas that merit consideration in the future, which are documented in the proceedings of the workshop.
As a group, we remain committed to carrying these and related efforts forward. In order to seek funding and further support for these initiatives, the NEPAD and IGAD Secretariats commit to reporting these findings to the East Africa regional CAADP programming workshop in January 2005 and ensure implementation.
ASARECA - Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa
CAADP - Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme
CTA - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
COMESA - Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
IFPRI - International Food Policy Research Institute
IGAD - Intergovernmental Authority on Development
InWEnt - Capacity Building International, Germany
IWMI - International Water Management Institute
NEPAD - The New Partnership for Africa’s Development