News / Africa

African Countries Come Up Short on Investment in Agriculture

Jennifer Lazuta
Only seven of the 53 African Union countries who pledged to commit at least 10 percent of their national budgets to investment in agriculture in 2003 have reached that goal. Aid organizations say that investment in agriculture is key to breaking the cycle of food insecurity and crisis in West Africa. As the declaration approaches its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, the aid groups are calling on AU countries to renew their commitment to the Maputo Declaration.  
 
In 2003, 53 African heads of state agreed to allocate at least 10 percent of their national budgets to investment in agriculture and livestock by July 2008.  Ten years later, only seven countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Malawi and Ethiopia - have reached that target.
 
Many countries, such as Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently devote less than three percent of their national budgets to investment in agriculture.  This is despite the fact that small-scale farmers represent more than 80 percent of their populations.
 
Eric Hazard, the campaign manager for Oxfam’s West Africa GROW campaign, said that investment in agriculture is important for a country's development.
 
"In Africa, we know that 90 percent of the population living in rural areas is living with agriculture and by agriculture.  We also know that we are in some regions in West Africa, for example, where we are facing some regular and recurring food crises.  So we can’t continue to believe that we will be able to resolve the food insecurities that all the population is facing by ignoring this sector.  So it’s critical in terms of guarantees of food security of the population, but it’s also critical to ensure that we will reduce the poverty," he said. 
 
Hazard said that investing in livestock is also important. 
 
In Niger, for example, where livestock accounts for 22 percent of the country’s exports and is considered a key means of reducing poverty among the country’s poorest, only 1.7 percent of the national budget is spent on the sector. 
 
Mamadou Alassane Ba is the coordinator for the western branch of the Association for the Promotion of Livestock in the Sahel and Savannah.  He said that increasing agricultural investments has little to do with the size of a country’s budget.
 
He says that obtaining the 10 percent level of investment in agriculture is a matter of political will.  He says that while many countries in the region do face real challenges, even some of the world’s poorest countries have been able to achieve the 10 percent goal.  There are many other countries, he says, who have the means to reach the 10 percent, but have not yet taken the initiative.  So that’s a matter of political will, he says.
 
Hazard said that while reaching the 10 percent goal is important, it's only the first step.  The quality of the investment is also important. 
 
"Even countries that have been able to reach [the 10 percent] - for example, the case of Burkina Faso, who is the champion of Maputo, who was the first one, in fact, who dedicated the most resources in its agriculture budget - the actual execution, the real expenditure of this budget, remain very low.  Only between 65 and 70 percent of resources allocated are really spent [on farmers]," he said. 
 
Hazard said the money often goes to ministry expenditures, such as employee salaries and meeting costs.
 
Experts say that West Africa’s population is expected to double by 2030.  In order to feed the estimated 500 million people who will be living in the region then, and to avoid further and more severe food crises, aid organizations are now urging AU countries to renew their commitment to the Maputo Declaration and make quality investments in the agricultural sector.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Oxfam Eric
July 10, 2013 12:04 AM
Please just get you Southern counterpart to comment on the Zimbabwean agricultural scenario, which will help explain the difficulties and food shortages. Better still visit the Country.

by: Demitu Wake
July 09, 2013 7:31 PM
The transparency record of the countries such as ethiopia has to be carefully considered. I am an Ethiopian who knows the situation on the ground. It is difficult to trust this claim. The Ethiopian tyrant ruling party has a bad record of voilence against human right. It calls itself a developmental state as a cover for its brutal human rights record. It claims almost a decade of double digit growth which IMF and world bank do not recognize. The people of Ethiopia do not buy it at all. This might be an extension of the continued fabrication of numbers. One can realize how the government is ambitious on numbers if you attend one of the joint donors and governement representative meetings.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs