New Report on Agriculture: putting small scale farmers first
At the start of the African Union's Year of Agriculture, ACORD has released a new report analysing National Agriculture Investment Plans in five African countries and making recommendations for how small-scale agriculture can transform the continent
2014 is a vital year for agriculture on the continent, and for the future of Africa's small-scale food producers. It is the UN's Year of Family Farming, and the African Union's Year of Agriculture. The AU Summit in July 2014 will see African government's agree to new commitments on the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). "CAADP can be the vehicle to harness the potential of small-scale farming to end poverty and achieve food sovereignty. African governments must put small scale farmers first" Fatou Mbaye, ACORD Livelihoods Thematic Manager and sustainable agriculture expert.
As this year gets underway, ACORD is releasing a landmark report "Putting small-scale farming first: Improving the National Agriculture Investment Plans of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania." This report analyses the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) of five countries - Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Burkina Faso - and assesses the extent to which they are likely to benefit smallholder farmers. The NAIPs are the flagship strategies of governments, outlining how they will support the agriculture sector in the coming years, and include ambitious spending plans. If the NAIPs are to transform agriculture, they must focus on the people who do most of the farming - smallholder farmers, who are usually defined as those with less than 2 hectares of land. Yet smallholders have often been neglected in government policy, despite comprising the majority of Africa's population. In addition to low spending on agriculture in many countries, much spending has insufficiently prioritised the needs of smallholder farmers.
The report's analysis is that the NAIPs of these five countries show a significant commitment to the agricultural sector. However, this commitment is not matched by sufficient recognition of the importance of smallholder farming to reducing poverty reduction and promoting food security. The analysis assesses several positive features of the NAIPs before focusing on five clear policy failings - these are specific, key areas for governments to address and improve. If not adequately addressed, the NAIPs will likely fail in their potential to promote agriculture-led development and the livelihoods of smallholders in these countries and elsewhere in Africa.