The Future Agricultures Consortium has instituted a regional, Africa-centred structure to support its research and policy engagement activities, with ‘hubs’ in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and the UK.
Since 2005, Future Agricultures has produced research and analysis on the political economy of agricultural policy in Africa through a network which now includes over 90 researchers, supported by a secretariat in the UK.
Relevant and timely
Decisions about how Africa can produce food, support farmers, involve the private sector and donors, and work with civil society, require strong and relevant evidence from researchers with experience and understanding of policy processes in different settings.
Future Agricultures’ new setup comprises three new hubs related to the major regional economic communities in Africa, as well as a fourth hub in Europe. The hubs are hosted in leading university-based, policy research institutions in each region:
- Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Kenya
- The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), South Africa
- The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Ghana
- The Institute of Development Studies, UK.
A newly-formed Advisory Council will also provide advice and suggestions on research and policy engagement for the network.
In particular, Future Agricultures is being funded by the UK Government to research policy options on a number of key areas affecting agricultural development in Africa, including pastoralism, irrigation and water, agricultural growth, and the role of young people in the agri-food sector.
The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa conference in March 2013 highlighted the importance of debate between politicians, researchers, civil society and others in many of these areas.
The research is supporting the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), the principal framework for governments supporting agriculture as part of development in Africa. Our dedicated CAADP co-ordinator is Sam Asuming-Brempong.
The consortium’s other research projects, funded by DFID as well as the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), are studying how China and Brazil are engaging with African agriculture, the impacts of different types of land commercialisation, and the implications of land deals on local people in Southern Africa.
African agriculture is the focus of renewed expectation for development on the continent. Amid concerns about large-scale ‘land grabs’ and hopes for the potential of new partnerships with China and Brazil, policy makers are grappling with how agriculture can feed citizens, provide jobs and bring in much-needed investment. These challenges require insights from within Africa itself, linked to national, regional and Africa-wide policy debates and networks.
Video: Future Agricultures’ regional and Africa-wide work
In these short videos, the convenors of three hubs in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, and the Future Agricultures CAADP co-ordinator, explain how Future Agricultures is working within countries, regions and across Africa to share learning and engage with policy.
Comments from ministers and others
“Africa is moving into a new phase that could see the continent become a major player in the transition to a global inclusive Green Economy, but to do that it needs access to well-managed natural resources. Future Agricultures builds on the capacity of leading research institutions to inform policy-making for a sustainable future by focusing on areas that need urgent attention – showing how to remove barriers to policy-making and implementation, highlighting alternative policy options and facilitating access to new knowledge and information.”
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
“Future Agricultures offers a unique blend of solid research and independent policy advice on agriculture. The extensive network is an essential resource for all African policymakers.”
Ahmed Shide, MP and State Minister of Finance and Economic Development Ministry in Ethiopia
“Future Agricultures has a strong track record of engaging directly with African policy-makers and African citizens to illuminate the complex processes shaping contemporary agricultural development. Its new Africa-centred structure is a welcome development which will strengthen these linkages and build on the investment it is already making in research capacity across the continent.”
Hon. Mohamed Elmi, MP for Tarbaj and former Minister of State for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Kenya
“Africa is faced with the challenge of claiming the twenty-first Century. Africa can only do this through sustainable, pro-poor agricultural growth. Future Agricultures’ contribution to this critical debate is essential.”
Dr Luka Biong Deng, formerly National Minister for Cabinet Affairs in Sudan and Minister in the Office of the President of South Sudan