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ReSAKSS-ECA and COMESA collaborate to enhance trade policies

February 15, 2013

Presentations were made at a knowledge sharing seminar organized by ACTESA and ReSAKSS-ECA at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia on February 6, 2013.

Presentations were made at a knowledge sharing seminar organized by ACTESA and ReSAKSS-ECA at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia on February 6, 2013.

To strengthen partnerships with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in support of CAADP implementation, ReSAKSS-ECA has undertaken a number of activities to increase collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) by embarking on a series of studies related to trade in the region. Partnering with the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), a specialized agency of COMESA, ReSAKSS-ECA will focus research on trade openness, women’s involvement in agricultural trade, and soybean production, trade, and utilization. These issues were identified as priorities due to a lack of information on bilateral trade openness among countries for specific food commodities and a lack of understanding of the impact of trade on women’s welfare. Soybean has become an important ingredient in animal feeds worldwide but its potential in the region has not been assessed. The research is expected to provide rigorous evidence to inform the design of COMESA’s regional biotechnology and biosafety policy and bring in the gender dimension to the design of policies for linking small-size agricultural producers to national and regional markets. A future phase of the soybean study would include the economics of production and trade and the potential implications on technology and/or product choices in the COMESA region.

To initiate this partnership, ReSAKSS-ECA and ACTESA organized a knowledge sharing seminar at the COMESA secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia, on February 6, 2013. Presentations made by Dr. Joseph Karugia and Ms. Stella Massawe of ReSAKSS analyzed agricultural productivity and trade openness in the region. Indicators show that crop and livestock productivity in the region is low compared to the global average and potential, with increases in production outpacing productivity. Causes include low input use (such as fertilizer) and high variability in crop yields. ReSAKSS advised implementing agricultural interventions that focus on enhancing productivity rather than production. Trade restrictions in the region were also addressed. To capitalize on gains from trade, ReSAKSS recommended that tariffs on staple foods be eliminated and non-tariff barriers (such as import and export bans and quotas, administrative procedures, and poor infrastructure) be addressed.

ReSAKSS, ACTESA, and COMESA will continue consultations on modalities for implementing the studies and how to improve the packaging of ReSAKSS knowledge products to ensure their utility to COMESA. For more information, see the COMESA newsletter. See more photos on Flickr

Save the date! The 9th CAADP Partnership Platform to take place March 25-27

February 12, 2013

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Over 200 delegates will gather on March 25-27 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 9th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) held by the African Union Commission and NEPAD Agency. The theme this year will be “Sustaining the CAADP Momentum – from Decisions and Commitments to Implementation for Results for Impact”, focusing attention on the successes of CAADP and lessons learned over the last ten years as well as the creation of solutions to challenges anticipated in the future. Two overarching questions will guide discussions- What lessons and experiences should inform future priorities and practices for CAADP stakeholders? Based on lessons and experiences of CAADP implementation, what options should inform the commitment to measuring results and impact?

The PP coincides with the 10 year anniversary of CAADP, providing an excellent opportunity to evaluate what CAADP has achieved thus far and determine where progress needs to be made. Although implementation of CAADP has been slow and in many instances targets have not yet been achieved, it has created a process that facilitates the prioritization of agriculture and the enhancement of national investment strategies (See the Brookings report CAADP at 10 and the 2011 ReSAKSS Annual Trends and Outlook Report). Although 30 countries have signed the CAADP compact, less than a third of those have reached the CAADP target of 10 percent share of public expenditures allocated to agriculture. In addition, country ownership and clarification of the roles of supporting organizations could be increased (See the IPRI Discussion Paper). The focus of this year’s PP on results and impact is thus highly suitable to ensure that steps are taken to convert CAADP commitments into action.

In an effort to strengthen country leadership and raise the political profile of CAADP, the PP will engage key political leaders to address key topics. The Platform will be conducted through parallel and plenary sessions emphasizing case studies and experiences to drive discussions. The sessions will focus on four areas:

1. Harnessing different and emerging financial models for effective agricultural investment
2. Strengthening country leadership and ownership
3. Establishing instruments and mechanism for strengthening accountability
4. Fostering Policy reforms, institutional change and structural transformation

In addition, the PP will create a forum for all stakeholders involved in agricultural development to exchange information and experiences, provide a means of alignment with the CAADP agenda, discuss newly emerging issues and their implications for CAADP, assess progress and performance of CAADP targets, evaluate the progress of CAADP and create a vision for the future, and engage in political mobilization for sustaining CAADP momentum. For more information, please visit the CAADP website

INFOGRAPHIC: What Has ReSAKSS Achieved in 2012?

February 11, 2013

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Strategizing Investments to Maximize Agricultural Productivity

February 8, 2013

Although Africa has experienced significant growth in agricultural productivity since the 1980s, larger and more strategic investments are needed if countries are to reach CAADP goals in order to reduce poverty and increase food security. A new ReSAKSS Issue Note based on CAADP M&E 2011 Report identifies the options for raising and maintaining agricultural productivity across the continent. Current trends show that for many African countries, increases in agricultural productivity can be attributed to a greater share of land allocated to agricultural production rather than technical changes. The share of public agriculture investments out of total public investments on average are still well below the CAADP target of 10 percent. Technological advancements must be increased to improve agricultural productivity and governments must make larger investments in areas that have a greater potential for long-term benefits, such as agricultural research and development.

pic2 From Options and Priorities for Raising and Maintaining High Agricultural Productivity in Africa

Greater regional collaboration could facilitate knowledge and technology spillover. In addition, the effectiveness of agricultural investments could be improved through more location-specific programs and policies that take into account the diversity of farmers and differing impacts of certain types of spending.

At the country level, a study in Rwanda shows which factors affect the likelihood that farmers will adopt certain agricultural technologies, indicating where investments should be targeted to maximize impact. The study used soil testing and fertilizer use as measures of agricultural technology and analyzed the adoption patterns of farmers in different areas. The results show that younger, wealthier, and better-educated farmers on less fragmented farms are more likely to adopt technologies. Investments targeting farmers with these characteristics as well as policies that promote the consolidation of land could lead to short-term gains in agricultural productivity, while improving agricultural education and access to services and credit facilities among resource-poor farmers is necessary to ensure long-term benefits. This case and similar studies are important indicators of the types of strategies that will be most effective for increasing agricultural productivity.

Public Agricultural Investment Requirements and Decisions in Mozambique

January 25, 2013

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As the government of Mozambique embarks on its National Agriculture Investment Plan (or Programa Nacional de Investimento do Sector Agrário (PNISA)), one of the major challenges that the investment planning team faces is assessing the amount and types of investments that will be needed to bring about desired changes, particularly to achieve a 7 percent agricultural growth rate each year. A new IFPRI discussion paper, titled Public Expenditures in Agriculture in Mozambique, discusses the types and amount of public agricultural investments required in order for the country to achieve its own development goals as established in the context of the CAADP framework, as well as the factors that drive public investment decisions.

The report finds that agricultural growth in Mozambique can be attributed largely to the expansion of the amount of land used for agriculture, which will ultimately be unsustainable as there is a limited area of land that can be used for agricultural production. In order to sustain and increase growth, the authors suggest that total government spending on the agricultural sector would have to increase by 17-21 percent per year, with significant increases in the proportion of expenditures going to productivity-enhancing investments that generate higher efficiency in farming practices and input use (such as irrigation and information on best practices) and bring about technical change (such as research and development).

The allocation of public expenditures does not always align with the types of investments that can bring about substantial long-term desirable changes. For example, both donors and politicians often face incentives to invest in programs in which the outcomes can be observed in a short period of time and can be attributable to their efforts. Therefore, policymakers are unlikely to invest a significant amount of resources to programs that will have the greatest effect on productivity, such as research and development. However, as the country’s planning and budgeting process is formally embedded within the CAADP framework and processes, there is potential to change such behavior by bringing civil society and the media closer to the activities of policymakers while educating the public on Mozambique’s investment needs. The report suggests further research on the influence of CAADP on investments as Mozambique progresses through the CAADP process, as well as finding innovative ways to increase the political returns to such key productivity-enhancing investments.

To read the full report, click here

The Free Rider Problem: Strategies to Overcome Collective Action Challenges in the CAADP

January 18, 2013

image2This year marks the ten year anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), developed in 2003 as an initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). As part of a renewed focus on the agricultural sector by both African governments and donors in their development efforts, the goal of CAADP is to achieve poverty reduction and food security through sustainable agricultural growth. However, few African countries have yet to fully reach their commitment of a government budget allocation of ten percent to agriculture with the goal of achieving six percent agriculture-led growth. According to an IFPRI discussion paper titled The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Program as a Collective Institution, the future success of CAADP will depend upon the response of African governments and donors to the unique potentials and challenges posed by the Program as well as its effective use as an instrument to achieve agricultural growth.

This paper examines the challenges involved with collective action by African governments and donors. African countries are often lumped together and stereotyped by the perception of poor governance or aid abuse by a few, affecting donor’s willingness to provide aid. CAADP, with its image of being an “African-owned” initiative, is an attempt to develop a collective reputation of Africa’s commitment to agricultural investment and growth, providing the opportunity to increase aid flows from donors. However, challenges arise because a collective reputation increases incentives to free ride: countries could take advantage of the improved reputation to receive aid while neglecting to follow up on their commitments. This creates a collective action problem because countries can create investment plans and strategies but never implement them, hurting member countries by undermining the CAADP reputation. On the donor side, a coordination problem can occur as donors have a strong incentive to support individual projects aligned with their own procedures; however, this undermines the efforts of strengthening the country’s own institutions and harmonizing aid efforts.

The authors suggest that compliance mechanisms must be established to ensure that collective action problems are overcome. NEPAD has developed a strategy of persuasion to encourage countries to follow a specified process of implementation, aligning the country’s development and agricultural strategies with CAADP framework. In addition, a number of supporting organizations, such as the NEPAD secretariat, are assigned to support the CAADP implementation process. Finally, monitoring and peer pressure can be effective in addressing the free rider problem. The paper recognizes the important role that the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System plays in this respect as it facilitates evidence-based policymaking and monitoring of performance.
To read the full report, click here

CAADP at 10: Progress Toward Agricultural Prosperity

December 21, 2012

BrookingsAGIOn December 14, the Brookings Institution and TransFarm Africa organized a workshop titled “CAADP at 10: Progress Towards Agricultural Prosperity” in Washington D.C. The event gathered about 30 participants from donors, development partners, universities, think tanks and private sectors, aiming to provide a policy dialogue about the progress of CAADP in the past decade, current challenges, and recommendations as the program approaches its 2015 deadline for achieving its commitments.

The workshop reported on the Joint Ministerial Conference of Agriculture and Trade (JMCAT), which was held by AUC on 25 – 30 November in Addis Ababa. CAADP is all about transformation in the current changing global environment, especially considering climate change and global food market changes. To sustain the growth, Africa has to get more of the private sector involved, especially civil societies and farmer institutions, and to give more emphasis farming as business to make agriculture “sexy”. There would be three measurable outcomes to achieve: 1) increasing productivity for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction; 2) competitiveness built on well-functioning agricultural input and output markets; and 3) regional and global integration for scaling up and strengthening Africa’s capacity.

The participants discussed about the achievements of Africa under the CAADP agenda in the past 10 years: African leaders have recognized the important role that agriculture plays in Africa’s economic development and made commitments to agricultural growth and investment; many countries have developed their investment plans with country-specific priorities in agriculture; and Africa has mobilized partnerships for agricultural investment at all levels from both private and public sectors.

The engagement of private sector is one of the key issues being discussed at the workshop.  As the largest investor in agriculture in low- and middle–income countries (read our blog about FAO’s State of Food and Agriculture 2012 Report), smallholder farmers are the driving force of agricultural transformation that must be put at the center of African governments’ development strategy. How to catalyze private investment more effectively, and at what level, will remain a challenge. Ensuring a conducive policy and regulatory framework would be crucial in shaping opportunities for increased investment and growth.

The Conference Summary is distributed by Africa Growth Initiative, which will also be shared with the Ministers of agriculture and trade of CAADP countries, in early 2013.