AGRA President Jane Karuku
Maputo, Mozambique – The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Wednesday launched its inaugural report on the state of African agriculture, according to the Alliance which is working to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers.
The Africa Agriculture Status Report, which takes an in-depth look at the staple crop value chain – from classroom to field to market – in 16 countries across the continent, brings together data and analysis from over 15 national and international organisations, including ministries of agriculture, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The report focuses on staple crops, such as cereals and root-crops, around 75% of which are produced in Africa, rather than imported.
In a keynote speech to launch the report, Strive Masiyiwa, Vice Chair of the Board of AGRA, said: “If we are to succeed in bringing about a Green Revolution in Africa, we need to record and understand where we making progress, but also where we are lagging behind.
”For the first time, the Africa Agriculture Status Report shows us the big picture and allows us to make comparisons between countries. It provides much-needed and reliable data and will, we hope, lead to more informed policymaking and greater accountability.”
For her part, AGRA President Jane Karuku said: “The Africa Agriculture Status Report is being published at a critical time for the continent. Ten years on from the Maputo Declaration, we can recognise some significant progress, but we must also shine a light on areas where action and investment are urgently needed.
”This new resource will guide policymakers to direct resources and efforts so that they can have the greatest impact on achieving food security and alleviating poverty.”
Also speaking at the lauch, David Ameyaw, Director of Strategy, Monitoring and Evaluation at AGRA and one of the report’s leading authors, said: “This report marks the beginning of an ambitious project to consolidate reliable and accessible data on African agriculture. There are considerable gaps in our knowledge of the agricultural sector – Governments, national research institutes, but also private sector actors, need to collect and share data openly. Our aim is to extend our analysis to include all sub-Saharan African countries within a couple of years.”
The launch of the report was held on the sidelines of the African Green Revolution Forum holding in Maputo, Mozambique.
Among the report’s findings is that while a number of countries are investing heavily in Research and Development and developing their agricultural sector, others are lagging behind, to the detriment of food security.
Others findings include:
— In terms of personnel engaged in agricultural research, Africa has the world’s lowest capacity with only 70 researchers per million inhabitants (compared to USA and Japan with 2,640 and 4,380, respectively).
— Declining soil fertility threatens crop yields and agricultural development in a number of countries. While the average price of fertiliser delivered to farms in the USA is US$226 per ton, it is US$414 per ton in Zambia.
— Outdated national and regional laws and regulations are restricting the development of Africa’s seed markets. The average length of the seed release process is around three years in most sub-Saharan African countries.
— Low cost and subsidised food imports are weakening African agricultural markets, along with poor access to credit, trade restrictions and high transportation costs. Although agriculture represents as much as 40% of GDP in some African countries, only 0.25% of bank lending goes to smallholder farmers.
— Women, who represent the majority of Africa’s smallholder farmers, are heavily disadvantaged under current land rights systems. This is reducing their ability to access credit, agricultural technologies and services. Evidence shows that women in Africa are five times less likely than men to own land.