Fair shares: Is CAADP working?
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), launched by African heads of state in 2003, offered the prospect of a new, intensified focus on agriculture throughout the continent. Ten years on, how successful has CAADP been? This paper offers a brief assessment, examining if agricultural budgets have increased, if the focus of spending has improved, and if CAADP is providing ‘fair shares’ to the millions of smallholder farmers who do most of Africa’s farming and produce most of its food. The paper is based largely on country studies undertaken by ActionAid, examining African governments’ agriculture budgets and spending priorities.
The concept of ‘fair shares’ means that governments must promote investment and policies that recognise, support and encourage smallholder farmers’ own investment in agriculture and food security.
The key CAADP commitment made by African states was to allocate 10% of public expenditure to agriculture. Yet, as of 2010, only eight countries have exceeded the 10% target, and ActionAid’s analysis of the level of African governments’ agriculture budgets reveals a mixed picture. Rwanda and Ghana are spending around 10% of their budgets on agriculture, and have increased investment in recent years. Yet Uganda’s spending is low and static, hovering at 3-4% in recent years, while Nigeria – which has increased spending – still only allocates around 3.5% of the federal budget to agriculture.
Although the adoption of CAADP-aligned national strategies has played a role in increasing agricultural investment in some (though not all) countries, there are serious problems with the focus of spending, especially in the lack of adequate support to the needs of smallholder farmers, notably women farmers. CAADP is promoting a farming model associated with the Green Revolution, which promotes the use of expensive external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides and improved and/or hybrid seeds bought from agribusiness companies; this comes at the expense of promoting sustainable agriculture approaches that are likely to benefit poor farmers much more. Despite the fact that women constitute the majority of farmers in some countries in Africa, they are often only paid lip service in CAADP programmes and are largely ignored in countries’ CAADP and other agricultural strategies. Women farmers and smallholders generally are being insufficiently consulted in the design of agricultural research policies.