Zambia: CAADP – Revolutionalising agriculture in Africa

By Nawa Mutumweno – The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union at Maputo in July 2003. CAADP is viewed as the potential driver for economic growth and poverty reduction in the continent.  This framework encourgares African Governments to increase their annual budget allocation to the agriculture sector, with a view to attaining a marked annual sector growth rate.  Among the key principles of CAADP is the need for wide stakeholder consultation in the selection of priority investment areas.

Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as Common Market for Eastern and Soutthern Africa (COMESA) were mandated to implement CAADP in their regions.  Together with their partners (the African Union Commission, NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency, Bilateral and Multilateral Development Partners), the RECs  have put in place concrete actions to increase food and nutrition security, and to reduce hunger on the continent.

Among the programmes that have been supporting the CAADP agenda, is, the Regional Enhanced Livelihoods for Pastoral Areas (RELPA). Funded by USAID at a cost of $19.8 million, this Horn of Africa programme has been working with pastoralists across three countries to improve their livelihoods.

Another ambitious project is the Euro 10 million European Union funded Regional Food Security and Risk Management Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa (REFORM) which builds capacity for cross border trade  in Africa – transferring skills, undertaking technical studies, documenting best practice, sharing information and encouraging dialogue on developing policies.

The Making Markets Work for the Poor: Enhancing Food Security and Productivity Growth in Eastern and Southern Africa (MMWP) is a World Bank and UK Department for International Development (DFID) three-year $3.8   million project which involves practical analysis, policy outreach, consensus building and capacity strengthening. It is envisaged that this will encourage structural and policy reforms, and appropriate investments in programmes to give smallholder farmers a better chance of increasing  productivity, becoming food secure and rising out of poverty.

Improved Regional Trade in Food Staples (RTFS) is a $5 million programme with start-up funding from the World Bank. It assembles data on regional production and trade in food staples and develops predictive analytical tools. These tools can be used to map the outcomes of common natural and policy shocks so that measures can be put in place to reduce risks in the future.

The pilot $25 million Home-Grown School Feeding and Health Programme funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) and DFID, and carried out by DFID, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), WFP  and the Millenium Hunger Task Force (MHTF) has linked school feeding to agricultural development. Rural farmers, most of whom are women, supply schools with their produce and can depend on a reliable income. And children’s health and nutrition improve. In 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided a new $12 million grant to extend the programme to ten sub-Saharan countries

The African Union (AU)-NEPAD works to raise the amount and quality of food that Africa produces, in order to make families, communities and countries more food-secure and exports more profitable. To do this, AU-NEPAD brings together all the organizations and partners involved in Africa’s agriculture –and helps them voice their needs and co-ordinate their work.

The framework guiding this work is CAADP – developed and led by African nations. Established as part of NEPAD, CAADP was endorsed by the African Union Assembly in July 2003. Its day-to-day management is overseen by the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA).

Countries in the COMESA Region that have signed the National CAADP Compact include:  Rwanda; Burundi; Ethiopia; Swaziland; Uganda; Malawi; Kenya ;Zambia; Seychelles and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The CAADP Compact is a document highlighting key priority investment areas that have been carefully and collectively selected through a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral stakeholder consulattaive process including Government, Farmers’ Organisations, Private Sector, Civil Society and Development Partners . The signature of the Compact encourgagescountries to work towards achieving six (6) percent growth in the agriculture sector. Countries are also required to allocate at least 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture.

The CAADP framework, and its processes, aims to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development. The primary aim is to create dynamic agriculture markets within countries and between regions in Africa and make the farmer take part in the market economy and enjoy access to markets so that the continent, capitalizing on its comparative advantages, becomes a net exporter of agricultural products.

The 2003 African Union Maputo Declaration to adopt CAADP and commit member countries to allocate 10 percent of their budgets to agriculture was a landmark decision. To date, some of the countries that have surpassed the target of committing 10 percent of their budgets to agriculture include Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Niger and Senegal, with most countries having made significant progress towards this goal. More than 20 countries have achieved agricultural growth rates of six percent or more.

NEPAD is an African Union strategic framework for pan-African socio-economic development, a radically new intervention, spearheaded by African leaders, to address critical challenges facing the continent: poverty, development and Africa’s marginalization internationally. It provides unique opportunities for African countries to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together, and to cooperate more effectively with international partners.

In endorsing the implementation of CAADP, Africa has indeed shown its commitment towards placing agriculture back at the centre of the development agenda. Since CAADP is critically important to the full exploitation of opportunities for trade and food security, it is integral to regional integration.