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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid