Africa Agriculture Status Report 2016: Progress towards Agricultural Transformation in Africa
Over the last decade, millions of small family farms in Africa have experience big changes. These farms are the continent’s main source of food, employment, and income. Many African governments have put agriculture back to the top of the development agenda, and from a growing revenue base, they have increased the proportion of their national budgets going to this vital sector. Private companies have invested heavily in Africa’s agriculture value chains in recent years, paving the way for a renaissance in Africa’s agri-food systems that multiplies the options for farmers in terms of the seeds they plant, the fertilizers they use, the markets they can now tap into, and the information services now available to help them manage their farming activities. Agricultural growth in Africa has also expanded livelihood opportunities for millions of people now engaged in the growing off-farm stages of the agri-food system.Offering a glimpse of future success, these advances have helped inspire a new vision for Africa, one in which farming realizes its potential to help make the continent sustainable and hunger free.
Much more must be done, however, to sustain and deepen the agricultural transformation process that has started in Africa, as laid out in the Malabo Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The continent is still faced with many challenges such as food insecurity, emerging effects of climate change and rampant land degradation make these challenges especially daunting particularly as rapid population growth and rising urbanization increase the pressure on agriculture to deliver more and better food. But each of these challenges also represents an opportunity to strengthen agriculture, turning it into a multiplier of inclusive economic growth. My hope is that this incisive new report on recent progress—from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and its partners—will stimulate a more profound and impassioned debate about the kinds of future investments and other measures that are needed to make the transformation of this sector a reality. While acknowledging the progress that many countries have made toward this end, especially the ones that were quick to embrace the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program, the report minces no words about how much farther these countries and others have to go.