Improving Agriculture and Governance in Africa Can Help End Hunger

While Africa continues to face enormous challenges in reducing rural poverty, a vision of economic renaissance led by farmers is beginning to take hold.

agriculture-governance-africaA new framework to tackle the role of agriculture development in Africa was raised at the 10th Comprehensive Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

Efficient investments, either private or public, in agriculture practices addressing family farmers, allowing the creation of institutional markets and improving its production is what Africa expects from its national governments and partners worldwide.

The CAADP is a technical conference under African Union institutions created as a platform for private and public stakeholders to have the opportunity to discuss issues about Africa’s development.

According to a report published by the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) and launched in Durban, each dollar invested in agriculture generates over 100 percent return in the non-agriculture market. The same report concludes that only agriculture investments can bring the resilience and economic recovery Africa seeks and needs.

In a continent where 75 percent of its population relies on family agriculture for subsistence, that sort of investment in agriculture transformation is key for achieving other goals related to food and nutritional security.

The main lesson from the 10th CAADP was of an empowered Africa leading discussions in infrastructure, ownership of water resources and land use, gender equality, public-private investments and agriculture transformation, aware of its weaknesses and areas where international support can be strategically inserted.

As the CEO of NEPAD, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki stated “Only with political will the sustainable and efficient development of Africa could be reached.” For that, strengthening the relationship between powerful advocacy tools as the platform itself within the African Union and national governments is a vital step.

National governments, its citizens and an organized civil society are in need to take the leadership of their own solutions for hunger. Strengthening national capacities, building strong institutions, creating a legal framework, investing in the program’s design and implementation, and having national lines of funding must be aligned with the agriculture investments as core political actions.

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Governance and national owned programs have always been highlighted within the World Food Programme Centre of Excellence’s scope of work. The discussions and goals agreed in the meeting show an important convergence among African leaders and partners for which the Centre has been always advocated.

The Centre’s cooperation with the continent is based upon one motto: “The future of Africa relies on themselves.”

Building up strong agriculture policies, providing smallholder farmers with necessary tools and therefore addressing the continent’s food and nutritional security challenges will bring successful socioeconomic results, and will open even more doors to countries that have been for so many years left behind.

Daniel Balaban is an Economist and has a MBA in Finance and Masters in International Relations. Since August 2011, he is the Director and Representative of the World Food Program Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Brazil. Mr. Balaban has been instrumental in supporting south-south cooperation and partnership in collaboration with the World Food Program and the Food and Agricultural Organization to bring support to national governments, including several countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Read other articles by Daniel.