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FANRPAN model and strategy for meeting the demand for effective food, agriculture and natural resources policy analysis in Southern Africa - from 2008 to 2015
Synopsis prepared September 2008
September 2008


Executive Summary

The Policy Situation in Africa

FANRPAN, Vision is a Food Secure AFRICA. After decades of stagnation in agricultural yield and little or no investment in rural economies, Southern African countries are beginning to prioritize the development of agricultural production and markets. Rural development and agricultural productivity now feature prominently on the agenda of national governments and regional bodies like COMESA and SADC. Continent-wide plans and investments, through programs like the Common Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), are encouraging and guiding in-country efforts. And international donors also recognize the need to invest in agricultural development, as evidenced most clearly by the 2008 World Development Report.

Policymakers at all levels of government are seeking smart, comprehensive, evidence-based policy solutions to address long-standing problems. Policy networks are an especially efficient tool for meeting this need. Regional networks have a broader perspective and can invest in addressing shared and trans-boundary issues. They facilitate exchange of information and best practices, thus preventing duplication of effort and reducing the learning curve for the field as a whole. Network resources can also be aligned for joint or coordinated action to effect more ambitious systemic or region-wide changes. For these and other reasons, policy networks have a special utility and value for leading and guiding change in Africa.

About FANRPAN

FANRPAN is a multi-stakeholder, multi-national policy network that supports the development and implementation of better food, agriculture and national resources (FANR) policies in Southern Africa. Its members include universities, research institutes, the business sector, farmer groups and other civil society organizations that have a stake in FANR policies. FANRPAN's membership is organized into national nodes in twelve countries, with a national secretariat hosted by an existing national institution that has a mandate for agricultural policy research and advocacy. The network also has partnership agreements with more than twenty regional organizations, including SADC, COMESA and several CGIARs.

FANRPAN is known and respected for providing high-quality policy analyses and for convening national policy dialogues that bring together a diverse group of stakeholders. This combination of relevant, unbiased analysis and broad-based stakeholder dialogue enables FANRPAN to produce viable and effective FANR policy recommendations. FANRPAN has already made significant research and policy contributions, such as the first comprehensive study of the impact of HIV/AIDS on household agricultural productivity, the development of a Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), for planning interventions and monitoring impacts, and the pioneering use of a voucher system to promote fertilizer and seed markets. It is currently studying water use in the Limpopo river basin to identify opportunities for increased agricultural production through better water management and is the lead policy analysis provider for a large EU-funded project on biofuel production in Africa.

From Policy Analysis to Policy Change

This strategic plan (2008-2015) is designed to transform FANRPAN from a respected policy analysis provider into a powerful agent of policy change. In addition to producing high-quality recommendations, FANRPAN is now actively working towards the implementation of better policies. It will evaluate its work based on which of its policy recommendations were implemented and what impact they had in the region.

To accomplish real policy change, FANRPAN is investing in strengthening its network and building members' capacity for impacting policy more comprehensively-i.e.from identification of national priorities through broad-based dialgoue to stakeholder advocacy for preferred poicies. In particular, FANRPAN is working to:
  • Improve supply of policy-relevant research at research instittutions
  • Develop the network's capacity to integrate research findings and stakeholder perspectives to develop viable policy options
  • Stimulate national discussion about policy priorities and empower a broad cross-section of stakeholders (especially under-represented interests) to participate in the dialogue.
FANRPAN's own projects model its comprehensive approach to policy change. Its work is organized into four programme areas: Food Systems, Agricultural Productivity, Natural Resources, and the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Agricultural Productivity. In each programme area, FANRPAN pursues policy projects that address critical region-wide concerns via research, policy analysis, dialogue and effective communication of results and recommendations.

Planned Impact

The time is right to bring about much-needed policy reform to address the stubborn and widespread problems that have crippled African agriculture and rural economies. And addressing these problems is critical for achieving the global priorities expressed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

FANRPAN's overall strategy is aligned with the time frame of MDGs and takes the organization through 2015. In addition, the organization has developed more detailed operational plans and budgets for the next five yeears, and has set definite organizational targets for that time period. By 2013, FANRPAN will have accomplished the following goals:
  • Contributed to significant policy advances in each of its four programme areas, resulting in salutary outcomes such as reduced household vulnerability, increased farm productivity, better resource management, and growth of agricultural markets.
  • Contributed significantly to the implementation of Africa-led agendas such as CAADP
  • Grown its network; and developed members' capacity for preparing evidence-based policy analyses and communicating them to decision-makers.
  • Positioned itself as the preferred provider for evidence-based FANR policies in Southern Africa and an internationally respected convenor and regional representative on FANR issues.
  • Developed its revenue streams so that administrative and staff costs can be completely supported through project overheads, service fees and member contributions.

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