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Funding Begins Flowing for African Agriculture

Claire Ngozo

WINDHOEK, Sep 1 2010 (IPS) - The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has received a major boost as several countries have begun drawing on funds from a $22 billion pledge made by the G8.

Under CAADP, African governments are committed to increase their national budget expenditure on agriculture to at least 10 percent. The Programme, agreed by heads of state at the 2003 summit of the African Union, expects a six percent growth rate in agriculture every year.

Dr Nalishebo Meebelo, the Country CAADP Process Facilitator at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), told IPS that the overall goal of CAADP is to help African countries achieve food security and higher economic growth through agriculture-led development

Meebelo said leaders at the G8 Summit held in L’Aquila, Italy in 2009 pledged to raise over $22 billion under the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

The World Bank is administering the funds. The United States, Spain, South Korea and Canada as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are the development partners that have contributed towards the finances.

“But there are conditions attached to how countries will be accessing these funds,” Meebelo told IPS. She said countries need to have gone through the CAADP process, which includes designing national investment plan which contains detailed and fully-costed programmes and signing a CAADP compact.

The compact is a high level agreement between the government, regional representatives and development partners for a focused implementation of the programme.

“The investment plans should have undergone an independent technical review and the plan should also have been tabled before a high-level CAADP business meeting,” Meebelo explained.

The countries that have accessed the funds so far are Togo, Sierra Leone and Rwanda. Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi are all expected to also benefit from the fund after they successfully submit their investment plan by the end of September.

COMESA, in partnership with the African Union Commission and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, is coordinating and facilitating the CAADP.

Mbeki Ndlovu, a Pretoria-based researcher at the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in South Africa, explained that CAADP has four pillars which guide governments on sustainable land and water management; building trade and marketing infrastructure; increasing food and nutrition security; and promoting research in agriculture, extension and training for adoption and dissemination of new technologies. FANRPAN, a network of researchers, farmers and governments presently covering 14 Southern African countries, is coordinating the implementation of the programme at the national and regional levels in the sub-region.

He said many countries in Africa are now linking their agricultural programmes to CAADP. “However, there’s need to complement national level priority interventions with priority regional investment programmes.”

COMESA, according to Ndlovu, is implementing major programmes in infrastructure, trade and agriculture in line with the continent-wide plan. It has developed a regional compact that is working on harmonising agricultural investment programmes in the region.

“Strategic priorities in this harmonisation include increasing food output and productivity throughout the regional value chain such as on farms, in processing industries and in marketing, developing human and institutional capacities and developing priority regional trade and development corridors,” said Ndlovu.

Malawi is one country that has since signed the CAADP Compact, Director of Malawi’s Livestock Department, Wilfred Lipita, said the country’s agriculture policies are now linked to CAADP’s pillars. “We are no longer working in isolation. All our policies are tied to the CAADP pillars,” he said.

Lipita hopes that trade and development corridors will be implemented soon. He said Malawi is doing well with its agriculture programmes where it is utilising a nation-wide subsidy programme for agriculture inputs to become a net grain exporter.

“We have inputs that have to be imported from other countries and we have agricultural produce that we have to export. All this can work well if the trade and development corridors are in operation,” said Lipita.

He hopes the funds from CAADP will help in the development of the trade and development corridors.

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