Agriculture Investment in Africa: Years after the Maputo Declaration

African Heads of State and Government of the African Union met in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003 and one of their resolutions was to allocate a minimum of 10 per cent of national budget to agriculture by 2008; a target that was set to boost agriculture’s contribution to individual nation’s GDP.

It’s almost 11 years down the line now, and only 8 nations have succeeded in making the target and or even surpassing the 10 per cent of national budgetary allocation goal.

There is a great need for African leaders to keep to their promises for agriculture on the continent. Even considering that the sector account for about 60 per cent of employment generation in the Sub Saharan African – this is enough reason for African leaders to live up to expectations with regards to agriculture. Below is some other reason why African leaders should be held responsible for investment in agriculture:

Smallholder farming which has family-farming as one of the key component is responsible for more than 80 per cent of the food supply on the continent.

Investing in agriculture also implies that the burdens of the farmers especially the smallholder farmers would be lessen which will translate to more productivity, greater food supply as well as more revenue for the farmers which a positive effect of luring the younger generation into agriculture.

Agriculture has been around for before every other economic activities and it’s still relevant, even into the future. And there are great monuments in Africa that are been funded by money from agriculture – the likes of Cocoa House in Ibadan, Nigeria,

Agriculture experts have also warned that investing in agriculture is more effective in improving the standard of living of Africans even on the notion that bulk of African poor are farmers whose means of livelihood center around the cultivation of a small piece of land.

“…Concerned that 30 per cent of the population of Africa is chronically and severely undernourished; that the Continent has become a net importer of food; and that it is currently the largest recipient of food aid in the world, convinced of the need for Africa to utilize its full potential to increase its food and agricultural production so as to guarantee sustainable food security and ensure economic prosperity for its peoples,” the 2003 declaration reads in part.

Another notable part of the declaration is the fact that African leaders affirmed that they recognised that it’s the continent’s responsibility to reinvigorate its food and agriculture sector for the economic prosperity and welfare of Africans. But the reverse is the case now as we are turning our attention to foreign aids to help revitalise the agriculture sector.

And of the resolutions made, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was implemented with the agreement that every nation would adopt sound policies for agricultural and rural development, to also commit not less than 10 per cent of national budgetary resources to the materialisation of those policies within another five years which was 2008. It’s almost 11 years after the declarations now; you might want to ask me what has become of budgetary allocation of individual nation to agriculture in Africa.

Access the Maputo 2003 Declaration here.

First published on AgricBiz


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