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Cadres politiques propices à l’amélioration de la fertilité des sols en Afrique

Chacun convient du fait que l’une des composantes centrales, pour parvenir à une « révolution verte africaine », porte sur la nécessaire résolution des problèmes majeurs de fertilité des sols qui pèsent sur l’agriculture africaine. A cet effet, l’AGRA (Alliance pour une révolution verte en Afrique) a lancé un nouveau programme de grande envergure, baptisé « Soil Health » (fertilité des sols) et concernant 4,1 millions d’agriculteurs en Afrique, ceci avec le soutien de la Fondation Bill and Melinda Gates, dont la contribution s’élève à 198 millions de dollars ( La déclaration d’Abuja, en conclusion du sommet de l’Afrique sur les engrais qui s’est tenu en 2006, a instauré un contexte propice à des investissements majeurs visant à stimuler l’approvisionnement en engrais ( Fertilizer Declaration in French.pdf). Le CAADP (Programme global de développement de l’agriculture africaine) a joué un rôle actif dans le cadre des activités de suivi du sommet, notamment par son travail sur l’amélioration des marchés et des échanges ( ). On recense par ailleurs de nombreuses autres initiatives, notamment le programme Villages du millénaire ( ), le programme Sasakawa-Global 2000 (, ainsi que les activités de l’Association for Better Land Husbandry (Association pour une meilleure utilisation des terres d’élevage). Toutes ces initiatives considèrent la fertilité des sols comme une question centrale, même si les solutions et conditions politiques suggérées sont très différentes les unes des autres.

L’Économie Politique du Succès de la Filière Coton au Burkina Faso: Entre Paradoxes et Incertitudes

FAC document de travail no. 41par Augustin Loada

Le présent article porte sur l’économie politique de la filière coton au Burkina Faso. Si l’histoire du succès économique de cette filière est bien connue, il n’en va pas de même pour le rôle de l’économie politique jusque là peu étudié.

Pays sahélien enclavé confronté à des conditions climatiques et écologiques peu propices au développement de l’agriculture, le Burkina Faso est pourtant cité comme un exemple de réussite dans la filière coton. Introduite en Afrique l’Ouest sous l’ère coloniale dans les années 20, la culture du coton connaît un succès qui n’est pas seulement dû aux innovations techniques apportées de l’extérieur mais aussi à la capacité d’innovation des producteurs (Thomas J. Basset, 2002). Mais la filière ne prendra son envol qu’au lendemain de l’indépendance en 1960, sous l’impulsion de la Compagnie française pour le développement des fibres textiles (CFDT), une société publique dont le champ d’intervention s’étendait dans la sous-région francophone.

Agricultural Policy in Kenya
By Patrick O. Alila and Rosemary AtienoJanuary 2006

Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It contributes approximately 25% of GDP, employing 75% of the national labour force. Over 80% of the Kenyan population live in rural areas and make a living, directly or indirectly, from agriculture.The sector is important for poverty reduction since the most vulnerable groups, such as pastoralists, the landless, and subsistence farmers, depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihoods. Growth in agriculture therefore can be expected to have a significant impact on a larger section of the population than any other sector. Likewise, policies affecting the performance of agriculture have important implications for the economy as a whole.

Agricultural Services and Decentralisation in Kenya

Colin Poulton and Gem Argwings-KodhekJune 2010

Kenya will vote on a new constitution in August 2010. The document proposes greater decentralisation of government with elected governors heading 47 counties that will replace the current system of provinces and districts. This realignment of the institutional landscape presents a number of opportunities and challenges for agricultural service provision in the country. This brief draws on case studies in four districts of Kenya – Mwingi, Rachuonyo, Eldoret West and Nyeri South – that were conducted in 2007 and 2009 to explore the roles and performance of the Ministry of Agriculture and other rural development ministries in the country to provide context to discussions that need to be held in Kenya about the delivery of agricultural extension and other services in Kenya under the new constitutional order. The new constitution has the national ministry making policy, but crop and animal husbandry, fisheries, disease control and other services being undertaken at the county level.

Agriculture and Social Protection in Malawi: Fertiliser Policies and Politics
By Stephen DevereuxMarch 2009

Agricultural and social protection policies must be understood in the context of political agendas, market development and trends in rural livelihoods. This Briefing Paper reviews interactions between agricultural and social protection policies in Malawi – classified as social protection from, independent of, for, through and with agriculture – and their impacts on livelihoods and welfare. Specific attention is given to the evolution of input subsidy policies (i.e. ‘fertiliser politics’).

Agriculture Policy Processes in Kenya

By Patrick O. Alila and Rosemary AtienoJanuary 2006

The success of Kenya’s Strategy for Revitalising Agriculture (SRA), discussed in the Future Agricultures briefing Agricultural Policy in Kenya, depends critically on policy processes, structures and actors affecting agricultural policy in Kenya. This briefing examines the impact of each of these factors on Kenyan agricultural policy-making, both historically and in the present. It situates the various policy-making, ‘nodes’ within the SRA framework and considers whether or not these structures and processes are sufficient for implementation of the SRA.

Agriculture, Growth and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia

By Amdissa TeshomeJanuary 2006

Trade-offs between growth and poverty reduction and the role of agriculture are major contemporary issues in debates about future agricultures in Africa. In Ethiopia, this has been a long-running debate, but one that has been brought into sharper focus by the recent discussions about the second PRSP (Povery Reduction Strategy Paper) –the Plan for Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty (PASDEP). This briefing explores the policy processes surrounding PASDEP, and the implications this has for agricultural policy and rural development more broadly.

Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant? The Potentials and the Pitfalls
In 2009 the World Bank published a report entitled Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant: Prospects for Commercial Agriculture in theGuinea Savannah Zone and Beyond. The report highlights the agricultural potential of Africa’s Guinea Savannah (henceforth GS) zone, which it describes as “one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world” (p2). It argues that the time has come for this potential to be realized, noting the strengthening demand for agricultural commodities both in world markets and within Africa, where population growth, rising incomes and urbanization are driving demand for staple foods as well as for livestock and hor ticultural products. Macroeconomic and sectoral (taxation) policies are also increasingly favourable to agricultural investment within Africa.
Challenges and Opportunities for Strengthening Farmers Organisations in Africa: Lessons
By John Thompson, Amdissa Teshome, Ephraim Chirwa and John OmitiJune 2009

Farmers’ organisations (FOs) are increasingly being asked to play a central role in driving agricultural transformation processes in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite their mixed record of success. As governments, donors and NGOs rush to promote the scaling up and diversification of FOs’ activities and membership, this policy brief draws on findings of a study of the roles, functions and performance of FOs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi to suggest some principles and practices for supporting FOs in Africa.

Donor Policy Narratives: What Role for Agriculture?

By Lidia Cabral and Ian Scoones

How do international agencies concerned with agricultural development see the role of agriculture? What is the role for the market and the state? This briefing examines four recent statements from major aid agencies, asking how they see the role of agriculture in development.

Farmers’ Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation: Insights from Policy Processes in Kenya & Namibia

Policy Brief 42by Andrew Newsham, Lars Otto Naess and Paul Guthiga

One major policy challenge for the agricultural sector is to make sure that lessons from farmers’ knowledge and experience are informing emerging climate change policy processes. This briefing paper reports on lessons from recent studies in two areas: first on seasonal forecasting and indigenous knowledge in Kenya, and second, agro-ecological knowledge and science in Namibia.Advocates of local knowledge playing a role in adaptation policy and practice need a clearer understanding of how policy processes really work, in order to be more effective in making it happen. Efforts to link local to national are subject to broader processes of global change. Two of these are particularly discussed: first, the prospect of accelerated and more dangerous climate impacts by the 2060s; and second, deagrarianisation (a long-term shift away from farming livelihoods in rural areas).

Fertiliser Subsidies: Lessons from Malawi for Kenya
By Colin Poulton February 2009


Since 2005/06 a large-scale agricultural inputs subsidy programme has been in place in Malawi, which, combined with good rains, has resulted in the country moving from chronic food insecurity to maize surplus. This in turn has excited interest in fertiliser subsidies in other countries, including Kenya (itself chronically maize deficit). In this briefing note we summarise some of the key lessons learnt from evaluation of the Malawi fertiliser subsidy to date. Some of these are directly applicable to Kenya. However, the agro-ecological political and market contexts of Malawi and Kenya are different, so we also consider how these differences affect the transferability of the fertiliser subsidy programme.
Food Aid and Smallholder Agriculture in Ethiopia
By Samuel GebreselassieJanuary 2006

Ethiopia has been structurally in food deficit since at least 1980. Today, Ethiopia is the world’s most food aid dependent country. The country received 795 thousand metric tonnes of food aid annually between 1990 and 1999, about 10% of total domestic grain production. This Briefing asks what have been the impacts of food aid in Ethiopia and what are the implications for future policy, and particularly the links between food aid and smallholder agriculture?

Future Scenarios for Agriculture in Malawi: Challenges and Dilemmas
By Ephraim W. Chirwa, Jonathan Kydd and Andrew Dorward January 2006


Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita gross domestic product of $190 and high rates of child malnourishment and infant mortality. More than half the population lives below the poverty line, with almost a quarter on the verge of survival. Agriculture plays an important role in the economy. The sector performed well in the first two decades since Independence in 1964, but subsequent performance has been disappointing.
Future Scenarios for Agriculture in Malawi: Challenges and Dilemmas (ii) policy

By Ephraim W. Chirwa, Jonathan Kydd and Andrew Dorward

This Briefing Paper examines challenges and dilemmas for Malawi’s agricultural policy-makers, emerging from current policy processes as well as being rooted in past policies and outcomes.

Malawi’s Agriculture Ministry: Fit for Purpose?
By Blessings Chinsinga and Lídia CabralFebruary 2008


Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has a mandate to promote and accelerate broad-based and sustainable agricultural development, so as to stimulate economic growth and contribute to poverty reduction. The MoA is responsible for policy formulation and regulation, the coordination of training and collaboration with other stakeholders in the agriculture sector, and supervision of parastatal organisations, for which it also guarantees loans.
Pathways for Ethiopian Agriculture: Options and Scenarios
By Samuel Gebreselassie, Amdissa Teshome, Stephen Devereux, Ian Scoones, and Kay SharpThe paradox facing agricultural policy in Ethiopia was neatly encapsulated in a statement by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in 2000: "The agricultural sector remains our Achilles heel and source of vulnerability. … Nonetheless, we remain convinced that agricultural-based development remains the only source of hope for Ethiopia." The reality is that most Ethiopians continue to struggle to make their living from smallholder farming, despite low returns, high risks, and the evident inability of agriculture to provide even a reliable subsistence income, let alone a ‘take-off’ to poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. Policy-makers and analysts, both national and expatriate, have vacillated between arguing for increased investment in smallholder farming, commercialising agriculture, or abandoning unviable smallholder agriculture by promoting diversification or urbanisation instead. It is often remarked that, if Ethiopia can solve the profound challenges facing its agriculture sector, the lessons will be applicable in many other parts of Africa.
Policy processes and agriculture – what difference does CAADP make?

CAADP Policy Brief 14

It is just over ten years since African Union (AU) Heads of State made their declaration in support of Africa’s agricultural sector in Maputo. Through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), they committed to a common process for the development and refinement of national agricultural strategies and investment plans, intended to guide the investments of governments, donors and the private sector. This Brief draws on research by the Future Agricultures Consortium on the political and economic context of CAADP in eight African countries (Poulton et al. 2014)and asks:

How does CAADP fit with existing national agricultural strategies and policies? Who and what drives the CAADP process at country level? What value has CAADP added to national agricultural policies?

The findings add to our understanding of how domestic political incentives affect pro-poor agricultural policy in Africa.

Politics and the Future of Ministries of Agriculture: Rethinking Roles and Transforming Agendas

By Lidia Cabral and Steve Wiggins

What form should a contemporary Ministry of Agriculture take, and how should it function? The answers to these questions depend on three major issues set within the context of agriculture. The first and foremost is the role assigned to agriculture. Is it an economic activity like any other, or it expected to fulfil roles in, for example, food security, regional equity or providing a buffer against destitution for the rural poor?

Reclaiming Policy Space: Lessons from Malawi’s Fertiliser Subsidy Programme
By Blessings Chinsinga

This case study argues that political context matters in agricultural development issues. No matter what the technical or economic arguments for or against particular policy positions are, it is ultimately the configuration of political interests that influence agricultural policy outcomes on the ground.