The Consortium commissioned its representatives in the three countries (Ethiopia, Malawi, and Kenya) to undertake a very basic investigation of the status of each country. This involved, interviewing CAADP focal persons, if any, and other relevant institutions.
Malawi signs CAADP Compact. Malawi’s CAADP Roundtable and Compact Signing was held in Lilongwe on 19 April 2010. FAC’s Ephraim Chirwa and Mirriam Matita participated in the CAADP Roundtable and Compact Signing.
The CAADP Compact Signing was preceded by the official launch of the Agriculture Sector-Wide Approach (ASWAp) which detailed Malawi’s prioritised and harmonized agricultural development agenda of realizing at least 6 percent annual growth of the agricultural sector (picture below). The ASWAp focuses on three key areas: food security and risk management; commercial agriculture, agro-processing and market development; and sustainable agricultural land and water management. The ASWAp document was informed by FAC research and FCA was also involved in the development of the Agriculture Development Programme (ADP).
This preliminary investigation revealed that Ethiopia has a problem with pushing the CAADP agenda. This was ironic because (i) Ethiopia is among the first countries to complete the two early steps, namely government buy-in and assigning CAADP focal person and (iii) at the time of writing, Ethiopia chairs NEPAD.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development indicated the launch of CAADP was delayed for capacity problems. Facilitating the Country Round Table requires human and material resources. On this point, COMESA actually finances the process. What it requires is readiness from the countries concerned.
Key informants form the Ministry indicated that there is a weak-link with COMESA and country focal persons. The technical backstopping from COMESA was inadequate, which has contributed to the delay in holding the Round Table and subsequently launch CAADP. There is also a feeling, subject to verification, that membership of the World Trade Organisation may have something to do with the support given.
The relevance of the educational and professional background of focal persons to the pillars is also an important factor. One must feel that he or she is contributing to the debate. This was not the case in Ethiopia. Due to the recent restructuring of the Ministry, things are bound to be delayed until the dust settles!
The Kenya country team will explore on how we envision Future Agricultures’ role in the CAADP process. There is generally muted interest on CAADP in policy circles at the moment due to greater attention being paid to the current famine (seriously affecting about ten million people) and agricultural policy reforms in the country.