Early in the new century a consensus on agricultural and rural development emerged that provided renewed impetus to efforts to boost both agricultural development and the rural non-farm economy, in a context of ever closer rural-urban linkages and globalisation. Both governments and donors have committed themselves to support this.
The challenge has been to translate themes into practical policy. For two years the Future Agricultures Consortium, supported by DFID, has been investigating how to do this, primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.
This set of meetings presents of the results of this work. It also includes the World Bank presenting the 2008 World Development Report on Agriculture and Development, and two sessions on the way forward and whether or not emerging challenges from biofuels, climate change, and the growth of China and India imply that the agenda needs radical revision.
By Ian Scoones and John Thompson
12 February 2009
“to encourage dialogue and the sharing of good practice by policy makers and opinion formers in Africa on the role of agriculture in broad based growth”. But aren’t others doing this? CAADP (with the legitimacy of an international governmental process) and AGRA, IFPRI and others (with lots of money)…..likely to be others, So where do we fit?, What do we do that is different?
The overall context is the alarming decline in the growth of farm output in Kenya over the last fifteen or more years. As Figure 1 shows, from the late 1980s the growth of agricultural production has stagnated and fallen behind population growth. Production per head of population is now slightly below what it was at Independence in 1964.
The modern Kenyan economy has been built on agriculture, starting with the development oflarge-scale commercial farms owned by white settlers in the first half of the C20. Followingthe Swynnerton Plan of 1954, a drive to develop the smaller holdings operated by Africanfarmers began. For almost thirty years thereafter, before and after Independence in 1964,smallholder development in the higher potential parts of Kenya was successfulto drive agricultural growth ahead of the country’s rapid population expansion. Smallholdersincreased notably their output of coffee, tea, pyrethrum, and cotton for export and producedlarge amounts of maize, beans, sugar, beef, and dairy for the domestic market.
By Amdissa Teshome
A number of observers have described the policy making process in Ethiopia as strongly influenced by a long history of centralised, hierarchical systems of control under Imperial rule and nearly two decades of military rule by the Derg. The present government has made efforts to reverse this legacy however.