Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Small-scale agriculture in Southern Africa
Economic Governance Programme
Fourways, Johannesburg
November 2009

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges the IDASA - Institute for Democracy in Africa for this document


Idasa’s Public Expenditure and Smallholder Agriculture Project held a conference with the theme, Governance and Small Scale Agriculture in Southern Africa, from November 9-11, 2009. The aim of the conference was to facilitate deliberations on topical agriculture-related issues that affect the Southern Africa region. The conference brought together civil society organisations, the public sector and other stakeholders to engage in continued debates on development in Africa, and the role of small-scale agriculture in eradicating hunger and poverty.

African states are signatories to the Maputo Declaration of 2003. Under the Maputo Declaration, heads of state of the African Union recognise that it is the responsibility of Africa to invigorate its agricultural sector, increase food production and ensure economic prosperity and the welfare of its people by guaranteeing sustainable food security. Under the declaration, the heads of state acknowledged that 30% of the continent’s population is chronically and severely undernourished. They also recognise that the continent is a net importer of food and the largest recipient of food aid in the world.

To address this dire situation and achieve food sufficiency, food security and economic growth on the continent, the leaders have committed themselves to implement the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), which provides a framework for restoring food security, agricultural growth and rural development in Africa. To achieve these goals, the heads of states agreed to adopt sound agriculture and rural development policies. African leaders also agreed to commit their governments to allocating at least 10% of their national budgets for the implementation of CAADP within 5 years.

It is now more than more than five years since the signing of the Maputo Declaration. Globally, the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the number of people suffering from hunger and poverty by 2015 is halfway through. Yet, development in Africa and the goal of taking its citizens out of poverty leaves a lot to be desired. It is against this backdrop that the conference sought to highlight the gains and challenges faced by the continent in achieving these goals.

The conference brought together Idasa partners from Southern, Eastern, Central and Western Africa who are involved in advocacy, capacity building, and lobbying. Participants also included other stakeholders involved in agriculture and rural development. The discussions centred on the sub-themes of the conference which were:

Sub-Theme 1: Priorities for Investment in Agriculture

This sub-theme explored lessons and best practices that are emerging from work done on prioritisation and sequencing of agriculture-based investments to achieve pro-poor outcomes.

Sub-Theme 2: Trends in Public Expenditure and Small-Scale Farming

This sub-theme focused on the trends in public expenditure on agriculture and the nature and magnitude of its impact on small-scale agriculture. Highlighted was the importance and impact of good governance in the formulation of agricultural policies and budgets.

Sub-Theme 3: Stakeholder Participation in Agriculture Policy

This sub-theme explored models of stakeholder participation in agricultural policymaking processes and distilled key lessons on making these more effective. In focus, was the need for greater involvement by small-scale farmers and vulnerable groups such as women, youth and rural communities in the policy process.

The conference was a forum for discussion using case studies and best practice studies, regionally and internationally, as well as the experiences of farmers and civil organisations. Recommendations and the way forward for policy makers, advocacy groups and other stakeholders were highlighted.

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