ONE and New African Agriculture Challenge: The AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security. 2014 has been nominated by the AU as The Year of Agriculture and Food Security. It has been 10 years since the Maputo Declaration, whereby governments committed to allocating 10% of budgets towards agriculture. Only a handful have actually kept that pledge. Nonetheless, there have been some positive stories across the continent.
The ONE Campaign recognises the challenges that are faced by African smallholder farmers, but also the opportunities that arise if the right policies are in place, backed by sound implementation.
In response to a campaign that ONE ran last year, President Kikwete promised to increase Tanzania’s agriculture budget from 7% to 10% of total spending by 2013-14 through transparent budgets. ONE leveraged his leadership to encourage the African Union to prioritise agricultural development.
In the same vein, the then AU Chairperson, His Excellency President Yayi Boni, responded to a petition of 35,000 ONE members and supporters, and declared 2014 as the African Union Year of Agriculture.
ONE has since embarked on a campaign, to be launched in January 2014, to mobilise communities, citizens and civil society to call on African leaders to sign a robust 2014 AU Year of Agriculture Farmer’s Deal, also known as the Enhanced Maputo Framework.
ONE’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, Nachilala Nkombo, is at the forefront of this campaign.
“This proposed Farmer’s Deal will improve on the 2003 Maputo Declaration by providing a package of public investments and policy reforms that will improve the entire agriculture system, providing crucial missing services for the smallholder farmers and budding agribusiness firms that employ most Africans,” states Nkombo.
“By transforming smallholder agriculture through increased budgetary support, accountability and transparency, strengthened post-harvest storage systems, supporting the value chains, closing the gender gap and promoting intra-regional trade and land reform, an Enhanced Maputo Framework will yield continent-wide agricultural and economic success,” she adds.
By 2023, the implementation of the proposed Enhanced Maputo Framework could push 100m Africans out of poverty and improve their incomes through inclusive agriculture growth. For smallholder farmers like Adam, this will be music to the ears. But for millions of Africans who depend on smallholder farming, it represents a new lifeline.