Agric: Nigeria, 12 others post strong growth

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have posted higher agriculture productivity and stronger GDP growth as well as sharper declines in malnutrition due to early implementation of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals.

The African Union's Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme or CAADP, was created in 2003 with key call for African governments to allocate 10 percent of national budgets to agriculture and aim for six percent annual growth in the sector.

The early adopters are: Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

These are among the key findings noted in Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)'s 2016 African Agriculture Status Report (AASR), "Progress towards an Agriculture Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa." released today in Nairobi, Kenya.

The report notes that agriculture has had its biggest impact in countries that moved quickly to embrace CAADP goals and also provides an in-depth and unsparing review of an incredibly active ten-year period for African agriculture-one AGRA frames as a prelude for potentially big things to come.

The report finds that "after decades of stagnation, much of Africa has enjoyed sustained agriculture productivity growth since 2005, and as a result, poverty rates have declined in places like Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.

The analysis serves as a curtain raiser for this week's high-powered African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) which opens here in Nairobi today.

This year's AGRF is attracting heads of state and high-level officials from around the world.

And it could lock-in hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments for Africa's often struggling farmers.

The AGRA Report noted that countries that made the biggest investments are rewarded with sizeable jumps in both farm productivity and overall economic performance.

The AGRA report also noted that even if Nigeria and the other 14 countries didn't hit the 10 percent targets of CAADP , but as early adopters of the CAADP goals that they have seen productivity on existing farmlands rise by 5.9 to 6.7 percent per year.

This boost in turn helped to spur a 4.3 percent average annual increase in overall GDP. Those who came later to the game achieved between a 3 to 5.7 percent growth in farm productivity and a 2.4 to 3.5 percent increase in GDP.

Meanwhile, countries that sat on the sidelines saw farm productivity rise by less than 3 percent and GDP rise by only 2.2 percent.

The trend is similar for declines in malnutrition, with countries that have embraced the CAADP process experiencing annual declines ranging from 2.4 to 5.7 percent, while those who have not averages only a 1.2 percent decline.

AGRA President, Agnes Kalibata, said "The last ten years have made a strong case for agriculture as the surest path to producing sustainable economic growth that is felt in all sectors of society-and particularly among poor Africans.

"The track record is far from perfect," she added. "Many governments face significant budget constraints and far too many farming families continue to lack basic inputs, like improved seeds or fertilizers. But the evidence is clear."When we invest in our farmers and in the all the things they need to succeed, good things happen across the economy."

David Ameyaw, one of the report's lead authors , who is head of Monitoring and Evaluation for AGRA, said. "It's clear that with agriculture now back at the top of Africa's development agenda, the foundations have been laid for a renaissance in African agriculture that could quickly deliver benefits to the broader economy."

He said the report found evidence that many farmers are "gaining more options in the seeds they plant, in the fertilizers they use, and in the markets available to purchase their produce."

But African agriculture experts who contributed to the report make it clear that all is far from well. The report points out that Africa remains "the world's most food insecure continent, with relatively low levels of agricultural productivity, low rural incomes, high rates of malnutrition and a worsening of food trade balance."