Ramatu Al-Hassan and Colin Poulton
Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to embark on structural adjustment reforms. 25 years on, its continuing commitment to reform for national economic development has yielded impressive gains in growth and poverty reduction. Poverty in the country is measured through periodic Ghana Living Standards Surveys (GLSS). In 1991/92 GLSS3 found that 51.7% of the population were living below the national poverty line. By 1998/99 (GLSS4) this had fallen to 39.5% and by 2005/06 (GLSS5) it had fallen to 28.5% (Ghana Statistical Service 2007). In absolute terms the number of poor people in Ghana has fallen from 7.9 million in 1991/92 to 6.2 million in 2005/06. At current growth rates, Ghana should achieve MDG1 before 2010.
30 April 2008
International Conference: Towards a Green Revolution for Africa
Kofi Annan has called for a “uniquely African Green Revolution” founded on “bold pro-poor policies” to address the food crisis facing Africa and the world.
As food prices escalate at an unprecedented rate and shortages worsen, the Former Secretary General of the United Nations and Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has called for a new approach to finding equitable solutions.
30 September 2009
Smallholder agriculture was at the centre of a recent online discussion by the IDS-hostedFuture Agricultures Consortium where researchers debated farm scale and the food crisis in light of recent editorials and news stories about land grabs, food prices and the future of smallholder agriculture. The importance of small farming was underscored by a call for rural investment and context-sensitive policy making.
African smallholders say that enhancing farmer voice in strategic R&D processes and investing in innovations to improve market access, soil fertility management, small-scale irrigation and water management, and access to ICTs and credit should have more emphasis in agricultural research for development (AR4D) reform agenda promoted by GCARD. In three national workshops with representatives of nearly 100 smallholder organisations, the Future Agricultures Consortium shows how decisions made in Montpellier in March 2010 can be stronger with true farmer inclusion.
Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Stephen Devereux and Bruce Guenther
The paper explores how social protection and agricultural policies interact, creating either synergies or conflicts between them. To the extent that social protection measures help poor rural people expand their assets, use them more efficiently and adopt higher return activities, there should be strong synergies with agricultural development. Reverse synergies can also arise, if agricultural policies help farmers improve their livelihoods and reduce their vulnerability. But conflicts can occur if policy objectives are inconsistent with each other, and these are also examined in this paper. We draw on numerous examples from the across the globe, but with specific emphasis from the African continent to highlight issues including, liquidity constraints, scale and threshold effects, timing, seasonality and policy complementarities. In conclusion we consider lessons for how the agricultural policies and social protection instruments can be designed and implemented to exploit welfare and growth synergies.
Policy Brief 33
Decentralisation reforms and the new policy extension in Malawi held the promise of a stronger role for districts and lower levels in agricultural governance and increased plurality of agricultural service providers. Such potential is yet to be realised. There is an impasse with the decentralisation process and local government performance and interaction with other service providers face considerable institutional and operational challenges. Such challenges are compounded by the increasing politicisation of Malawian agriculture policy. In the absence of progress in decentralisation or in the development of a diversi ed and competitive supply of agricultural services, traditional leaders are, in some cases, emerging as progressive actors with capacity to mobilise people to agricultural activities in a developmental way.
How can Africa’s farmers, scientists, development practitioners, private entrepreneurs and publicofficials, with the support of the international community, spark a Green Revolution in Africa,one that responds to the region’s unique social, political and ecological conditions? That was thechallenge presented to the over 113 delegates from 29 countries who attended a set of linkeddiscussions at the Salzburg Global Seminar in late April/early May 2008.
The main purpose ofthe deliberations was to assess the most critical issues and to review, refine and articulate anagenda for a new sustainable “Green Revolution” for Sub-Saharan Africa. The delegates weretasked with answering the question: What are the core elements of a “uniquely African GreenRevolution?”
Cash Transfers and High Food Prices: Explaining Outcomes on Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net ProgramMarch 1, 2010 / Working Papers
Rachel Sabates-Wheeler and Stephen Devereux
An ongoing and highly politicised debate concerns the relative efficacy of cash transfers versus food aid. This paper aims to shed light on this debate, drawing on new empirical evidence from Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). Our data derive from a two-wave panel survey conducted in 2006 and 2008. Ethiopia has experienced unprecedented rates of inflation since 2007, which have reduced the real purchasing power of PSNP cash payments. Our regression findings confirm that food transfers or ‘cash plus food’ packages are superior to cash transfers alone – they enable higher levels of income growth, livestock accumulation and self-reported food security. These results raise questions of fundamental importance to global humanitarian response and social protection policy. We draw out some implications for the design of social transfer programmes and describe some steps that could be taken to enable ‘predictable transfers to meet predictable needs’wpdm_package id='4402']
Booker W. Owuor, Job O. Ogada, Colin Poulton, and Gem Argwings-Kodhek
Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy. Well managed, agriculture can be the single source that will spearhead the economy and alleviate poverty among the over 80 percent of Kenya’s population dependant on it. The sector has been fragmented into 10 ministries that all came out of a large Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) that is still seen as the parent Ministry and is viewed as the main player in the sector. This study was aimed at gaining a better understanding of how the sector is managed, and to critically examine the structure, capacity and coordination capabilities of the Ministry of Agriculture in Eldoret West District.
Everyone is agreed that one of the central components of achieving an „African Green Revolution? is to tackle the widespread soil fertility constraints in African agriculture. To this end, AGRA – the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa – has launched a major new „Soil Health? programme aimed at 4.1 million farmers across Africa, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committing $198 million.
We have had some fantastic – and varied – contributions to the debate. Many thanks to everyone who contributed. This note aims to draw out some themes and emerging conclusions. It is not comprehensive, and I urge everyone to read through the contributions, as there are many rich examples and interesting ideas about ways forward.