This Annual Report marks our second year of activity within the 2017-2021 strategic period. It considers our performance in 2018 towards our strategic targets, looking at the progress made within our thematic focus areas and at an individual country level. In certain sections, for context, it looks at the cumulative results we have achieved since our five-year strategy began.
During 2018, we implemented our planning from the previous year and kicked off our inception and investment activities in earnest. In support of our strategic goals, we also continued to work as a key member of the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), which was launched in 2017 to provide coordinated and aligned support to African leaders to drive progress and development in this space. PIATA members include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). To date, PIATA has made significant progress in leveraging investments and engagement with the private sector to build sustainable systems for agriculture transformation. The partnership has also grown, with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) recently joining to bring greater focus on regional food markets and food trade through policy predictability and market systems development. Together, these partners have jointly committed up to $400 million towards agricultural transformation in at least 11 African countries. In turn, this support will help to increase incomes and improve food security for 30 million smallholder households.
In addition, we have supported the establishment of the PIATA Advisory Committee (PAC), which allows for strategic engagement among the key funding partners. This engagement translates into Country Advisory Committees that have been launched in five countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania. This ensures strategic engagement, alignment complementarity between AGRA and it’s partners at the country level.
AGRA has now rolled out its strategy in all 11 countries. We continue to strengthen our capacity to achieve our goals. At country level, we have set up country teams and offices to support and engage agriculture sector leadership, ministries of agriculture, donor and development partners, the private sector and civil community. We have also recruited new staff, welcomed new board members and engaged new partners to help us realize our strategic ambitions.
To optimize the impact of our work, we are taking an adaptive strategy approach. This approach entails reviewing progress to date and assessing lessons learned to inform future programming and prioritization. It aims to ensure our portfolio of work is aligned and our activities are relevant to emerging issues and needs. In this way, our investments are shaped by rigorous analysis of evidence and country context and by the studies we conduct – for example, our fertilizer study and our ongoing institutional capacity assessment study.
2018 also saw some projects come to a close; for example, our initiative with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) that rolled out post-harvest management technologies in Burkina Faso and Mozambique, reducing post-harvest losses from 50% to 11%.