The Programmes proposed in this paper come in the context of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture development Programme (CAADP) which has been endorsed by the African Heads of State and Government as a framework for the restoration of agriculture growth, food security, and rural development in Africa.
The CAADP document draws the attention of member governments to a wide range of actions to revitalize African agriculture and provides a framework for harmonized and collaborative responsive action. Four specific thrusts for improving Africa’s agriculture that are outlined by NEPAD are;
NEPAD’s overall vision for agriculture seeks to maximize the contribution of Africa’s largest economic sector to achieve self-reliant and productive economies. In essence, NEPAD aims for agriculture to deliver broad-based economic advancement, to which other economic sectors, such as manufacturing, petroleum, minerals and tourism, may also contribute in significant ways, but not at the same level as agriculture. The NEPAD goal for the sector is agriculture – led development that eliminates hunger, reduces poverty and food insecurity, opening the way for export expansion. The vision for agriculture is that the continents should, by the year 2015:
- extend the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems;
- improve rural infrastructure and trade related capacities for market accesses;
- increase food supply, reduce hunger, and improve responses to food
emergency crises; and
- improve agriculture research, technology dissemination and adoption.
The CAADP document has now been firmly validated and internalized in most
countries’ national agriculture development plans. The emerging enthusiasm in embracing the CAADP process and framework is particularly evident in the numbers of countries that are reporting to achieving or are working towards achieving the goal of allocating at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture within at most five years, as agreed in Maputo by the AU assembly in July 2003.
- Improve the productivity of agriculture to attain an average annual growth rate of 6 percent, with particular attention to small-scale farmers, especially focusing on women;
- Have dynamic agricultural markets within countries and between regions;
- Have integrated farmers into the market economy and have improved
access to markets to become a net exporter of agriculture products;
- Achieved a more equitable distribution of wealth;
- Be a strategic player in agricultural science and technology development; and
- Practice environmentally sound production methods and have a culture of sustainable management of the natural resource base.
The challenge that is now facing the CAADP process is to move beyond and build upon the political commitment to prepare bankable projects and programmes as well as mobilize funding and expertise to implement these projects and programmes.
The present paper lays out a process that would launch the implementation of the CAADP programme over the next 6 months. The process that is outlined reflects the role of the NEPAD Secretariat as a facilitator and a mobiliser of resources and expertise, that of the RECs and member countries as primary implementers, and the nature of the APF meeting as a forum to discuss and assess the implementation of the NEPAD agenda. The programmes and initiatives that are presented are put together in the context of CAADP’s four pillars as well as cross – cutting priorities that are seen as critical drivers in attaining the CAADP goal of achieving at least 6% agricultural growth by the year 2015.