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AGRA unveils new five-year strategy to build resilient food systems

By IGIHE
On 9 September 2022 at 11:02

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), on Thursday 8th September 2022, launched its new five-year strategy that helps governments tackle hunger and enhance nutrition by building resilient food systems. The need for this support is powerfully highlighted by a decade of multiple natural and manmade crises. To help articulate the evolved emphasis of the strategy, AGRA also unveiled a refreshed branding on the same day.

AGRA’s new strategy is a response to recent global and African catastrophes including famine, COVID-19, drought, fall army worm, climate change, soaring food, fertilizer and energy prices, and the conflict in Ukraine. These events have created a truly urgent need for rapid strengthening of food systems and accelerated transformation of agriculture.

The new strategy will build on AGRA’s achievements to date, and crucially the lessons it has learned with its partners.

In the strategic period 2017-21, AGRA’s direct contributions have seen 11 million farmers reached directly, 26 million farmers reached through policy, state capability and partnerships work.

It has also facilitated 42 policy reforms, supported 11 national flagships and catalyzed US$1.4 billion in investment. Among others; 33,000 village-based advisors were trained, 75% of AGRA farmers adopted fertilizer use, 48% of AGRA farmers adopted improved seed while 60% adopted post harvest practices.

Despite the progress, Africa’s food systems urgently need further radical transformation. Many countries still struggle to achieve food security and provide diverse, nutritious choices for their populations. Supply chains that bring food to markets are often long and fragmented, leading to significant waste and higher costs for consumers. This is exacerbated by climate change and environmental degradation that threatens livelihoods, biodiversity and sustainability across much of the continent’s agricultural sector.

Speaking at the launch of the strategy; AGRA’s President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata disclosed that the new strategy will help to do more for farmers.

“We have demonstrated that when farmers have access to choices of inputs and when those inputs give a clear yield differential farmers adopt and their lives change. We have also seen that this only happens sustainably when markets are available to farmers” she said.

“Our new strategy therefore will see us do more of what works for farmers and will see us trying to understand markets better. In all this we must bring more youth, more nutrition and be smarter in use of environmental resources,” added Dr. Kalibata.

AGRA’s new strategy, which will run from 2023 to 2027 at a cost of US$550 million, concentrates on key areas of work from the last strategy, including seed system development, government engagement and expands AGRA’s work in sustainable farming and markets and trade, and focuses on three critical areas of change mainly: climate change, gender, youth and inclusion work, and transforming African diets.

Overview of focus areas and targets

Working with smallholder farmers: AGRA will aim to reach 28 million farmers in 15 countries to enable their full participation in sustainably growing Africa’s food systems.

Developing seed systems: AGRA seeks to build on the ten countries where it has strengthened seed systems to ensure farmers gain access to affordable, productive, climate and pest resistant seeds.

Sustainable farming: AGRA has set a goal of 30 percent of targeted farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices that build livelihoods today, and protect the environment for tomorrow.

Inclusive markets and trade: AGRA plans to invest US$300 million through its platforms to enhance market competitiveness for farmers, while bringing nutritious food to consumers.

Policy and state capability: AGRA will support 12 countries to develop strategies and investment plans for food system transformation pathways, that create an environment where farming businesses thrive.

Inclusivity: AGRA’s new strategy will see a 25 percent increase in funding for women-led SMEs, which will create new opportunities for women and youth to thrive in farming.

Nutrition: AGRA’s new strategy aims to support targeted farmers to adopt improved varieties including climate smart and nutrient dense varieties, to provide affordable, diverse, and nutritious diets for consumers.

Climate adaptation: AGRA aims to help 40% of targeted farmers to adopt varieties including climate smart and nutrient dense varieties.

The new Strategy also speaks to the need for businesses to recognize growth opportunities and have the confidence, financing, and capabilities to serve farmers, trade produce, and process food profitably.

Government representatives, NGOs, companies, small holder farmers, traders and all those involved in the growing, processing and distribution of food in Africa gathered in Kigali this week at the annual summit of the AGRF from 5th to 9th September 2022.

The former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn who serves as AGRA’s Board Chair explained that AGRA is a proudly African institution noting that food systems need to be built on solid foundations to achieve sustainable and inclusive work.

“Together in partnership, we can transform our agriculture; protect our environment; create equitable prosperity; and feed our communities and families,” he said.

About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives.

In collaboration with partners, AGRA catalyzes and sustains an inclusive agricultural transformation to increase incomes and improve food security in 11 countries.

AGRA's new five-year strategy seeks to help governments tackle hunger and enhance nutrition by building resilient food systems. This photo taken in 2021 shows farmers grouped in Duhingire Isoko Ruheru Cooperative in Ruheru Sector of Nyaruguru District, Western Province in Rwanda watering irish potatoes using engine powered water pump. Photo by Théophile Niyitegeka

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