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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Food security: CAADP 10% and ranking of African nations

THE Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has said that the current public investments of 10 per cent in agriculture, across Africa’s national budgets remain small.

This is coming as agriculture is reportedly back on the political-policy agenda across the continent, although the 10 per cent budget allocation to agriculture remains inadequate.

CAADP and food insecurity;
A high-level meeting of African and International Leaders ended recently in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, tagged “Toward African Renaissance: Renewed Partnership for Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025 within the CAADP Framework.”

While speaking there, the Head of the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Mr. Martin Bwalya, told NaijaAgroNet that CAADP framework was set up to curb food insecurity on the continent, even as he lamented that the current public investments of 10 per cent of annual budget into agriculture, across Africa’s national budgets remain abysmally low.

NaijaAgroNet: recalls that CAADP’s goal is to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture and as a way of achieving this goal, African governments agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets and to raise agricultural productivity by at least 6 per cent by the year 2015.

Although the 10 per cent budget allocation to agriculture remains inadequate, the good news seems to be that agriculture is reportedly back on the political-policy agenda across the continent, according to Mr. Bwalya, who declared “Agriculture is back to the political-policy agenda.”

He said that as ways of advancing CAADP implementation strategies in the last 10 years, there are some key results that have impacted on the initiative, namely that 43 out of 54 countries are actively engaged in the process. Also, he noted that 28 investment plans have been developed so far with 27 business meetings held while 31 countries seemed compacted to the scheme.

Bwalya’s sustenance modules:
Proffering further sustainable modules, he said that spotlights on the social protection integral to a growth and development agenda are no longer negotiable, just as cconsistent and coherent African vision, agenda and positions could serve as a boost to democratic governments and improved public finances-revenue, thereby seeing to improved planning for CAADP.

Urbanization across Africa is expected to grow to 50 per cent by 2013, while youthful population, that is 40 per cent for ages under 23 years, even as globalisation based on food and energy prices as well as climate change must be tackled to make a difference.

Further, he pointed out that growing political commitment to increased budgetary allocations was another boost for CAADP initiative, emphasising that regional integration and coordination based on evidence-based and peer-reviewed agricultural plans and programmes would go a long way in checkmating the food insecurity in Africa, asserting, “Poverty, hunger and malnutrition are one of the most critical factors pulling down Africa socio-economic growth and development.”

Nigeria ranking and food security
The latest Global Food Security Index (GFSI) reports made available to NaijaAgroNet, based on the indexing of three core categories, namely the affordability, availability, quality and safety, ranked Nigeria 86th out of 107 surveyed.

The GFSI published by Intelligence Unit of The Economist, also ranked Nigeria 84 in the quality and safety index explicitly.

The ranking, NaijaAgroNet: gathered showed that Nigeria scored 38.7 per cent  in category scores to emerge 84 in ranking, while within the availability scores, Nigeria was ranked 62, scoring 47.8 category score, even as in the affordability ranking category, Nigeria got 105 with 15.1 score.

All these brought about total ranking of Nigeria at 86, among the 107 countries indexed within the latest review with 33 scores.

According to The Economist, Nigeria’s strength was defined as any indicator score above 75.0; in the prevalence of undernourishment, intensity of food deprivation and volatility of agricultural production.

Whereas the challenges where found in presence of food safety net programmes, public expenditure on agricultural research and development (R&D) in addition to corruption.

NaijaAgroNet: recalls that currently Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) stood at USD283.3 billion; population at 170.1 million; Land Area at 910,770 sq km; prevalence of undernourishment 8.5  per cent.

Drop in rank by Burkina Faso
Equally, Burkina Faso, one of the West African countries, earlier this year reportedly recorded a drop in ranking on food security, according to GFSI, the country was ranked 92 out of the 107 countries assessed, thereby dropping by one place compared to last year; the score of 29.9 per cent, which is very low compared to the average score of 53.6 per cent.

The Index, an annual measure of the state of global food security, assesses three major categories of affordability, availability and quality and safety across 107 countries.  The GFSI, sponsored by DuPont, is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The West African country performed below average on all the three categories of affordability, availability, and quality and safety, with the worst ranking being on availability at position 99. It was ranked 87 and 86 on quality and safety, and affordability respectively.

On affordability, Burkina Faso scored 26.7 per cent against an average of 52.8 per cent; on availability it got 30.8 per cent against 52.9 per cent and on quality and safety it had 35.1 per cent compared to 57.5 per cent.

The country dropped in scores on all the three major indicators. It dropped by almost six percentage point on quality and safety at 35.1 per cent. On availability, it dropped to 30.8 per cent from 34.4 per cent last year and on affordability 26.7 per cent down from 30 per cent, just as Burkina Faso was ranked 15 out of the 28 Sub-Saharan African countries.

Technology deployment, SSA biggest gain:
Regardless of Sub-Saharan Africa showing the biggest gain on food security, which climbed by just under one point; the findings revealed that food insecurity is a chronic problem and the region remains at the bottom of the Index.

The region continued to score the poorest of any region in food safety. The trend has been attributed to the presence of aflatoxins, produced by mould, in maize and peanuts.

South Africa and Botswana are the only countries from Sub-Saharan Africa to score above average. South Africa topped the lists on both affordability, quality and safety categories, and came second on availability in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Technology and biotechnology in particular could be the reason for this. South Africa, which began adopting agricultural biotechnology 12 years ago, has been able to control corn stem borer and parasitic plant infestations similar to those noted for other African countries. Consequently, South African corn farmers currently record much higher yields than farmers in the rest of Africa.

Burkina Faso hosts some 107,000 refugees from Mali and their presence on food and water resources, high food prices and conflict between refugees and host communities affect household access to sufficient and adequate food, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

Political response to agriculture:
NaijaAgroNet: gathered that Mr. Bwalya told his audience that by design, NEPAD and CAADP are political response to the poverty and food insecurity challenge, noting that chronic food insecurity and hunger is critical hindrance to socio-economic growth and development of the continent and could amount to restlessness in the geopolitics call Africa.

These were the compelling context that led to setting up of NEPAD and CAADP respectively, Mr. Bwalya pointed out that as at 2000, an estimated 40 per cent of people in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) lived below the poverty line of less than a Dollar per day. While the income and human poverty saw to the rise of social and economic inequality, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report of 2002, which stated that Africa is the only continent that has its 1/3 of its entire population living in chronic hunger.

He further noted that between 1980 and year 2000, Africa need for food and delivery requirement tripled in food emergencies, thus, it was a compelling context that led to the emergence of NEPAD and CAADP, lamenting however, that by 2000, there was no African country in the high group of Human Development Index (HDI) measure. Stressing, “No African countries in the high HDI group, small number in the medium HDI group; and majority in the low HDI group,” that is, 32 out of 35 countries in Africa.

In order to sustain CAADP momentum, he suggested that less focus must be on the issue of public financing and development aid, hence he decried weak inter-ministerial and inter-sectorial coordination and multiplicity of initiatives. He emphasised that Africa still has food insecure and high levels of hunger and malnutrition, maintaining that low agric productivity has resulted in low rural incomes.


Above all, more needed to be done by African countries and West Africa in particular in ensuring that food security is a priority of every member of the ECOWAS and the imperativeness of working out an increased budget allocation other than the 10 per cent as stipulated in CAADP scheme to finding a financial module that is sustaining and more attractive to the region, with likelihood of spurring other African regions so as to boost agriculture harvest and keep it on the table of the political leaders.

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