The Feed Africa Strategy for Agriculture Transformation in Africa 2016 – 2025 is a comprehensive and ambitious initiative launched by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to drive sustainable agricultural development across the African continent. With the goal of eradicating hunger, reducing poverty, and achieving food security, the strategy focuses on transforming Africa’s agriculture sector into a dynamic, inclusive, and commercially viable industry. This strategy recognizes agriculture as a key driver of economic growth and aims to harness its potential for poverty reduction and overall socio-economic development.
As of the strategy’s launch in 2016, Africa faced a host of challenges in the agriculture sector, including low productivity, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to markets, and vulnerability to climate change. Despite the fact that a significant portion of Africa’s population is engaged in agriculture, the sector’s contribution to GDP was often lower than its potential. These challenges, combined with a growing population, necessitated a comprehensive approach to address the complex issues hindering Africa’s agricultural development.
Convergence of Africa Food Systems Policies & Frameworks
The Feed Africa Strategy For Agriculture Transformation in Africa borrows a lot from Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), and the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. A closer analysis of the three documents reveals the convergences, crossroads, and shared visions that unite these transformative frameworks.
Anchored on four main pillars, the CAADP developed in 2003 provides the foundational framework for agricultural transformation in Africa through national ownership, leadership and accountability. The four pillars upon which the CAADP is anchored are: (a) extending the area under sustainable land and water management, (b) improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities, (c) increasing food supply and reducing hunger and (d) enhancing agricultural research, technology dissemination, and adoption.
The Malabo Declaration of 2014 on the other hand is a call to action to seven specific commitments across the continent; towards agricultural transformation based on the CAADP framework. The seven Malabo Commitments are: (a) enhanced investment in agriculture, (b) eradicating hunger and achieving food security, (c) doubling intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services, (d) enhancing resilience to climate variability and other shocks, (e) strengthening agricultural research and technology dissemination, (f) enhancing women and youth participation in agricultural value chains and (g) addressing nutrition and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Coming after the Malabo Declaration in 2016, the Feed Africa Strategy then provides an operational blue print for agricultural transformation in Africa. The five key objectives in the Feed Africa Strategy include: (a) productivity enhancement, (b) agro-industrialization, (c) infrastructure development, (d) climate resilience, and (e) food security.
Feed Africa Strategy Objectives
Under enhancing productivity and incomes, the strategy aims to improve productivity and income levels for smallholder farmers by promoting the adoption of modern technologies, improved seeds, and sustainable farming practices. It also focuses on enhancing access to finance and markets for farmers. The objective on promoting agro-industrialization seeks to transform agriculture from subsistence farming to a more commercial and market-oriented activity. This involves adding value to agricultural products through agro-processing, creating jobs in rural areas, and fostering agribusiness development.
Recognizing the importance of infrastructure, the strategy emphasizes the need to develop rural infrastructure, including transportation, storage facilities, and irrigation systems under its third objective of strengthening infrastructure and value chains. By improving the entire value chain, from production to consumption, the strategy aims to reduce post-harvest losses and increase the efficiency of agricultural systems.
Under the climate change resilience and sustainable natural resource management objective, the strategy prioritizes sustainable land and water management, as well as climate-smart agricultural practices; given the vulnerability of African agriculture to climate change. This approach seeks to enhance the sector’s resilience to the adverse effects of climate variability. The fifth and last objective is to advance nutrition and food security; through which the strategy places a strong emphasis on improving nutrition and ensuring food security across the continent. It aims to increase the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious foods, especially for vulnerable populations.
Implementation Strategies and Interventions
To achieve its objectives, the Feed Africa Strategy employs a range of strategies and interventions. The strategy promotes the adoption of modern technologies such as precision agriculture, improved seeds, and efficient irrigation systems to enhance productivity and sustainability. In addition, it focuses on building the capacities of farmers, agribusinesses, and institutions involved in the agriculture sector. This includes training in modern farming techniques, business management, and entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, recognizing the importance of finance in agricultural development, the strategy aims to improve farmers’ access to credit and financial services, enabling them to invest in their farms and businesses. The strategy also advocates for policy and regulatory reforms that create an enabling environment for agricultural development. This includes land tenure reforms, trade facilitation, and investment promotion.
To leverage resources and expertise, the strategy encourages collaboration between governments, the private sector, development partners, and civil society organizations. Additionally, the strategy emphasizes the importance of research and development to address specific challenges faced by African agriculture. This includes developing drought-resistant crops and pest-resistant varieties.
The Feed Africa Strategy for Agriculture Transformation in Africa 2016 – 2025 by the African Development Bank represents a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to addressing the challenges faced by the agriculture sector in Africa. By focusing on productivity, agro-industrialization, infrastructure, sustainability, and food security, the strategy lays the foundation for a vibrant and prosperous agricultural sector that can drive economic growth and improve the lives of millions of Africans. While challenges remain, the commitment of various stakeholders and the potential for positive change make the strategy a core guiding framework for the future of African agriculture.
Author: Jeremy Riro