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«Green Revolution in Africa August 2009 Report Contributions: Sam Moyo, Walter Chambati, Tendai Murisa and Amade Sucá TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Assessing the

Alliance for

Green Revolution

in Africa

August 2009

Report Contributions: Sam Moyo, Walter Chambati, Tendai Murisa and Amade Sucá





3.1 Background

3.2 Principles and policies: defining the problem and interventions

3.3 Programmes and their implementation

3.4 The actors and partnerships involved

3.4.1 AGRA Leadership

3.4.2 Implementation partnerships

3.4.3 AGRA and regional organisations

3.5 Distribution of AGRA grants


4.1 Market-led agricultural transformation

4.2 The small farmer focus

4.3 Access to land and water resources and tenure security

4.4 Technology (seeds, chemicals, fertiliser, machinery, irrigation and labour)......14 4.5 Environmental impacts and adaptation to climate change

4.6 Agricultural trade issues

4.7 Financing of AGRA

4.8 Popular participation in policy making and implementation of AGRA................18 4.9 Regional integration and the AGRA initiative




Special thanks to: Anne Jellema, Aftab Alam, Angela Wauye, Alhassan Cissé, Anna Antwi, Brian Kagoro, Buba Khan, Bibiane Mbaye, Chris Kinyanjui, Dede Amanor-Wilks, Eric Mgendi, Filipe Pequenino, Francisco Sarmento, I. Cissé, Jo Walker, Jorge Tinga Francisco, King Salami, Linda Mwakugu, Marta Antunes, Magdalena Kropiwnicka, Mariano Iossa, Njeri Kinyoho and Wole Olaleye. The authors are grateful for the research assistance provided by Ndabezinhle Nyoni, Kingstone Mujeyi and Charity Dangwa of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS)

Assessing the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

Page |1

1. INTRODUCTION ActionAid recognizes the vital role of agricultural development, particularly in Africa where the majority of livelihoods are derived from farming and related activities. Understanding the role of governments, private and civil society actors acting in agricultural development is critical to the advocacy work of ACTIONAID. The present assessment of Alliance for Green Revolution (AGRA) is intended to enhance understanding in ActionAid networks, of the nature of AGRA’s interventions and its impacts on small producers, and to inform ActionAid policies and programmatic initiatives.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is one of the largest single initiatives intended to promote smallholder farming in Africa. This is in response to food productivity deficits through a largely market- and aid-driven process. The few disparate and systematic analyses of AGRA’s content mainly focus on the broad potential impacts of agricultural technologies, based on extrapolations from the effects of the first green revolution (Dano, 2007;

Gimenez et al, 2006, Mayet 2007). Most of the documented responses to AGRA are from Western think tanks rather than African.1 A broad spectrum of civil society actors involved in agriculture and rural livelihoods issues has not yet been extensively included in debates about the AGRA initiative.

This assessment of AGRA relates mainly to its formative phase, following its establishment in 2006 and operations in 2007. ActionAid examines AGRA’s programmatic orientation to participatory work, its linkages to other African initiatives, and its potential impacts. ActionAid also assesses the level of consideration (by AGRA) of civil society responses and proposals to it. We look at the efficacy of the proposed technological interventions, as well as the nature of the social, political and economic relations which arise from the interventions, in order to establish whether the expected technological transformation can be realized in a sustainable manner.

This study was undertaken using various approaches and sources of information. First, an extensive review of literature on the green revolution, Africa’s agricultural development, AGRA documents and various commentaries on AGRA was undertaken. Various interviews with officials working with AGRA, government officials, farmers and civil society personnel were also conducted. The study also benefited from an ActionAid workshop involving various civil society actors, including farmers’ unions, in September 2008. A consultative meeting on African agriculture and the green revolution convened by the UN special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, in December 2008, also provided new data and insights. Finally, a two-day dialogue session with AGRA personnel, followed by a field visit to Machakos, Nairobi in April 2009 provided an extensive critique of the ACTIONAID draft paper and provided extensive information on AGRA.



Over 70 percent of Africa’s population derives its livelihood from self employment in farming and agricultural contributions of around 20 percent to GDP. The value of agricultural output increased by 2.5 percent per year in Africa over the past 4 decades (IFPRI, 2004), but per

Assessing the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

Page |2 capita production over the last 20 years declined by 2 percent a year. Population growth rates outpaced the real expansion of agricultural production and productivity. Africa has not resolved its basic agrarian questions of food security and productivity, due to land distribution inequalities, inappropriate agricultural production patterns, social and gender biases in resource allocation and poor integration into the predatory global agro-industrial production trade system.

Africa was somewhat bypassed by the first green revolution largely due to the reversal of agricultural and wider interventionist policies under structural adjustment, and its consequent ‘fiscal crises’. Africa’s technological deficit was driven by the disproportionate costs of inputs relative to commodity prices and incomes, and inequitable trade relations, in the absence of subsidized public finance. This trajectory did not arise from an intrinsic scientific technological ’backwardness’, voluntary state neglect and other unique physical constraints (e.g. soils, land locking, transportation, etc). Nor was it the results of the inappropriateness and undesirability of the available productivity enhancing technologies. It was the anti-developmental stance of neoliberal policies, which undermined the capacity of small producers and the state to deepen technological transformation (see Moyo, 2008). The prospect of transforming African agriculture through small producers remains untested.


3.1 Background AGRA’s roots are in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2006 White paper2 which describes it as ‘a dynamic African led partnership’ established to help millions of smallholder farmers and their families in their livelihood struggles against poverty and hunger. AGRA is a public charity aimed at reducing hunger and poverty in Africa through agriculture (AGRA, About Us, n.d; Dano, 2007:13). AGRA is portrayed as a response to the calls made by African leaders (in the 2003 African Union Maputo summit and the 2006 African Union Abuja summit) to enable smallholder farmers to prosper. It also responds to and endorses the African Union’s (AU) Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – which among other things seeks a 6 percent annual growth in food production by 2015, and the allocation of a minimum of 10 percent of national budgets to agricultural development (AGRA, 2007). Initially two organizations were established: AGRA and ProGRA (Programme for a Green Revolution in Africa). In October 2007 ProGRA was merged into AGRA. In 2007 AGRA appointed the former UN Secretary Kofi Annan as its’ Board Chairman. Currently it has two offices in Africa, one in Nairobi and another in Accra. The AGRA programmes are continuously being modified and new partnerships are being made, such that this assessment addresses AGRA as a rapidly evolving organisation (see annex tables).

3.2 Principles and policies: defining the problem and interventions AGRA defines Africa’s agricultural problem as being primarily one of low yielding seed varieties among the majority of smallholder farmers, inadequate access to better inputs and practices, rudimentary extension systems and weak off-farm infrastructure, such as roads and markets.

Furthermore AGRA argues that since Africa has the highest rates of soil fertility depletion, inorganic fertilizers are a critical factor in decreasing productivity decline.

Assessing the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

Page |3 The alliance claims to be conscious of the multifaceted challenges faced by Africa’s small scale farmers and seeks to respond in a comprehensive manner to both on- and off-farm constraints.

AGRA’s main goal is to increase the productivity and profitability of smallholder farming using technological, policy and institutional innovations that are environmentally and economically

sustainable within 10-20 years (AGRA, undated, 3). Three areas identified for intervention (onand off-farm) are:


–  –  –

AGRA has identified the production of resilient seed varieties as critical to the turn around of Africa’s agriculture. However, AGRA recently announced that the ‘introduction of genetically engineered crops is not part of the current strategy at this time …’ and that AGRA´s approach to improve seeds is ‘using conventional breeding’ (AGRA, FAQs, 2007:5).

AGRA is portrayed as a pro-poor and pro-environment organisation interested in learning from the constituencies it seeks to service. It espouses a paradigm of participatory development approaches and favours building partnerships with individual farmers, women’s associations and farmer unions, as well as with African governments. It has mobilized prominent national and regional African institutions, leaders of finance, business, as well as scientists and entrepreneurs involved across the agriculture value chain (AGRA, n.d; 2) The AGRA approach falls within a specific development philosophy and strategy. Although AGRA documents are not coherent in defining this framework, the philosophy can be decoded from various sources. AGRA affirms the market ideology, which assumes it is an efficient resource allocator. In areas where markets are weak or absent they have to be created. AGRA seems sensitive to the shortcomings of the market (although this is weakly articulated) and calls for ‘smart subsidies’ to correct market inefficiencies. Specifically AGRA proposes a modernization process of technology transfer as the over arching solution to Africa’s agrarian crisis. Through smart public subsidies, already attempted in countries like Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania, it is expected that there will be an increased availability of improved seeds and fertilisers delivered through the private sector to poor farmers.

3.3 Programmes and their implementation AGRA programmes respond to six interrelated issue areas; (i) the inadequate access to improved varieties of food crops,(ii) decreasing agriculture incomes and weak markets, (iii) inadequate agricultural knowledge, (iv) increased soil depletion, (v) weak water management systems and (vi) weak government agricultural policies (See Annex 2-1). Four programmes are

to be designed to respond to these issue areas with a projected to cost USD$200 million each:

Africa’s seed system programme; soil health programme; market access programme and the policy programme. Currently AGRA works in 13 African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

AGRA’s Income and Programme Allocation A five-year financial plan (2007–2011) was approved, with a total amount of USD$370 million.

By December 31, 2007 AGRA had received a total income of USD$126,755,460 and spent a Assessing the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa Page |4 total of USD$36,959,205. This amount was spent on grants, monitoring and evaluation costs and programme and general support costs, comprising USD$34,105,155; USD$561,304 and USD$2,292,746 respectively. By December, 31, 2008 AGRA had a total income of USD$55,054,818 and a total expenditure of USD$57,410,878. This was spent on grants, monitoring and evaluation costs and programme and general support costs, comprising USD$45,420,383; USD$D820,793 and USD$11,169,702 respectively. Up to April 2009, AGRA’s grants in the 13 countries where it has programmes amounted to about USD$84 million. (AGRA financial statements for 2007 and 2008).

Table 2.0: Summary of AGRA’s Budget and Funding

–  –  –

AGRA started by implementing the Programme for Africa’s Seed Systems with 4 subprogrammes: Agro-dealer Development (ADP), Education for African Crop Improvement (EACI), Assessing the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa Page |5 Fund for the Improvement and Adoption of African Crops (FIAAC), and Seed Production for Africa (SEPA). It focused on nine countries aiming to address an identified deficit in improved seed varieties and the weak distribution of inputs. With a total budget of USD$150 million it was announced in 2006 but formally launched in February 2007. The goal of PASS is to introduce ‘1,300 new crop varieties of at least 10 staple crops within 10 years and to ensure the adoption of the new varieties on at least 20 to 30 percent of the land cultivated by African small farmers (AGRA, PASS, undated:1). A total of USD$43 million has been committed towards developing 100 new improved crop varieties that mature earlier and produce larger yields that are suitable for ecologically varied agricultural environments in Africa, for five years. PASS allocates varied levels of funding (see chart 2.1) to education, improvement and adoption of crops, production of improved seed varieties and developing agro-dealer networks.

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