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Utilizing policy for agricultural growth

March 11, 2013

pictureWhile public investment in agriculture is essential for increasing agricultural growth in Africa, it must be complemented by good policy in order to be effective and efficient. A new IFPRI discussion paper examines a variety of agricultural policies that have been implemented in Africa south of the Sahara and identifies which have been most effective in stimulating agricultural growth.

Historically, the agriculture sector in Africa has suffered from inefficient market interventions, volatile food prices, and severe underinvestment. A variety of policies have been implemented in order to improve agricultural productivity, encourage private-sector investment, stabilize food prices, and secure property rights. In this context, CAADP has played an important role in laying the institutional framework to promote evidence-based, inclusive, and improved policymaking. It represents an unrivaled consensus of key values and priorities for the achievement of poverty reduction and food security through agricultural growth.

The authors identify three areas where CAADP has been particularly effective in improving the quality of policymaking in Africa:

African Ownership: first, CAADP fosters the development of local leadership at all stages of the implementation process. Active participation by multiple government ministries, as well as donor commitment to the support of government leadership, has fostered local ownership of policy formulation.

Inclusive Dialogue: second, CAADP promotes inclusive dialogue and participation from a variety of stakeholders in the review and assessment of CAADP implementation strategies. For example, the annual CAADP Partnership Platform engages governments, development partners, and the private sector to review CAADP progress and identify areas for improvement.

Evidence-based Decision Making: third, CAADP has provided a platform for accessible data, tools, and analysis to guide policies and evaluate performance. CAADP roundtable processes have increased the credibility of the agricultural agenda in national governments by producing high-quality strategy documents. ReSAKSS and SAKSS nodes have helped fill knowledge gaps, build local capacity, and disseminate relevant data and analysis for formulating country investment plans and benchmarking progress.

As governments move towards the CAADP goal of a higher budget allocation to agriculture, investment efficiency must be increased as well in order to achieve higher agricultural growth and poverty reduction. The CAADP framework provides a platform through which efficient investments can be achieved through more effective policies.

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