Why Wait Until the Next Food Crisis? Improving Food Reserves Strategies in East Africa

Why Wait Until the Next Food Crisis? Improving Food Reserves Strategies in East Africa

Report for Acord International (January 2015)

This report highlights the importance of African countries holding food reserves for promoting food security and price stability. It analyses the food reserves policies of three countries in East Africa – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – showing how these can, indeed must, be improved to address hunger. National food reserves, when designed and implemented effectively, can play a vital role in promoting food security and price stability. However, although most African countries currently hold food reserves, many are poorly managed, and some hold no stocks at all. Both Kenya and Tanzania hold sizeable grain reserves but Uganda holds none and has explicitly rejected doing so, stating that they are expensive and require careful management. Our analysis is that all three countries need to re-examine their policy on food reserves to improve food security for the most vulnerable. Policy towards food reserves should be seen as a complement to other social protection policies.

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Sowing the Seeds of Success: The Case for Public Investment in African Smallholder Agriculture

Sowing the Seeds of Success: The Case for Public Investment in African Smallholder Agriculture

Report for ActionAid-USA (August 2014)

There is an intense debate in development policy-making circles concerning what investments are needed to increase farm productivity in Africa. Donors and some African governments are increasingly turning towards the private sector, or Public-Private Partnerships, to provide investments, with such models seen not only as complements, but sometimes as alternatives, to increased public spending. This report reviews the literature on public and private investment in agriculture and argues in favour of increasing public resources to support smallholder farming in Africa. It analyses current (low) levels of public investment, gives reasons why public investment can be effective and outlines ten key ways in which public investment should be promoted to benefit small farmers.

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Honest Accounts? The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses

Honest Accounts? The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses

Report for Health Poverty Action, War on Want, World Development Movement, Jubilee Debt Campaign and others (July 2014)

This report is a first comprehensive attempt to measure the financial flows in and out of sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that Africa is being drained of resources, losing far more each year than it receives. While $134 billion flows into the continent each year (mainly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid) $192 billion is taken out (mainly in profits repatriated by multinational companies, tax dodging and the costs of adapting to climate change). The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of $58 billion a year. Thus the idea that we are aiding Africa is flawed; it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world. While we are led to believe that aid from the UK and other rich countries is a mark of our generosity, the research shows that wealthy countries benefit from many of Africa’s losses.

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Putting Small-Scale Farmers First: Improving the National Agriculture Investment Plans of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania

Putting Small-Scale Farmers First: Improving the National Agriculture Investment Plans of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania

Report for Acord International (January 2014)

This report analyses the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) of five countries – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Burkina Faso – and assesses the extent to which they are likely to benefit smallholder farmers. The NAIPs are the flagship strategies of governments, outlining how they will support the agriculture sector in the coming years, and include ambitious spending plans. If the NAIPs are to transform agriculture, and promote broader development, they must focus on the people who do most of the farming – smallholder farmers. The report finds that, while the NAIPs of these five countries show a significant commitment to the agricultural sector, there are five key problems: insufficient prioritisation of the real needs of smallholder farmers; a poor focus on women farmers; a lack of explicit prioritisation of sustainable agriculture; unrealistic funding; and limited community participation in implementing the NAIPs.

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Walking the Talk: Why and How African governments should transform their agriculture spending

Walking the Talk: Why and How African governments should transform their agriculture spending

Report for ActionAid (December 2013)

This report involves extensive secondary and primary research in seven African countries – Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. It examines how well focused governments’ agriculture spending is on promoting the needs of smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, and makes recommendations for far-reaching changes. It examines agriculture spending and quality, the lack of support to women farmers, the need to provide greater support to extension services, agricultural research, sustainable (ecological) agriculture and rural credit, and the need to improve transparency and participation in policy-making.

In 2003, African states pledged in the ‘Maputo Declaration’ of the African Union to spend 10 per cent of their budgets on agriculture within five years. Ten years on, African governments still allocate an average of only 5 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture. Only seven out of 49 African countries have consistently reached the 10 per cent target. This and other policy failings is holding back food production and food security in Africa, where 223 million people (a quarter of the population) live in hunger. African governments are largely failing the continent’s smallholder farmers, who comprise most of its people and produce most of its food. Women, who comprise most farmers and manage Africa’s food security, are being largely ignored.

African Heads of State and Government have designated 2014 as a Year of Agriculture and Food Security. Yet, like the Maputo Declaration, this will remain an empty phrase unless governments commit to walking the talk when it comes to agriculture spending.

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What Constitutes Agriculture Spending? Areas of Consensus and Contention

What Constitutes Agriculture Spending? Areas of Consensus and Contention

Discussion Paper for ActionAid (November 2013)

Public spending on agriculture in Africa is critical to promoting economic growth and the reduction of poverty. Yet a key issue is how agriculture spending is understood and measured. This report assesses different ways in which agriculture spending is defined, identifying areas of consensus and contention.

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Who Is Benefitting? The Social and Economic Impact of Three Large-Scale Land Investments in Sierra Leone

Who Is Benefitting? The Social and Economic Impact of Three Large-Scale Land Investments in Sierra Leone

Report by Action for Large-Scale Land Acquisition Transparency in Sierra Leone (July 2013)

Curtis Research contributed to this report, researching and writing section 6 and the Annex. This is an analysis of the revenue losses resulting from the large tax concessions the government of Sierra Leone is giving to agribusiness companies. The report calculates that Sierra Leone will lose around $188 million over 10 years in tax exemptions granted to three agribusiness investors alone – Addax Bioenergy, Socfin and Goldtree. The rest of the report examines the social and economic impact of large-scale land acquisitions managed by Addax, Socfin and Sierra Leone Agriculture.

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Fair Shares: Is CAADP Working?

Fair Shares: Is CAADP Working?

Report for ActionAid (June 2013)

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), launched by African heads of state in 2003, offered the prospect of a new, intensified focus on agriculture throughout the continent. Ten years on, how successful has CAADP been? This paper offers a brief assessment, examining if agricultural budgets have increased, if the focus of spending has improved, and if CAADP is providing ‘fair shares’ to the millions of smallholder farmers who do most of Africa’s farming and produce most of its food.

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The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in Land Grabs

The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in Land Grabs

Report for Aprodev (May 2013)

This briefing, the result of a longer piece of research commissioned by Aprodev, analyses the involvement of nine European development finance institutions (DFIs) in investments where land grabs have been reported: FMO (Netherlands), DEG (Germany), CDC (UK), Norfund (Norway), Finnfund (Finland), Swedfund (Sweden), SIFEM (Switzerland), OeEB (Austria) and IFU (Denmark). It also analyses the internal guidelines of these DFIs and finds that they have insufficient safeguards in place to ensure that they are not involved in land grabs.

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Fertile Yet Fragile: An assessment of progress in implementing Uganda’s Agricultural Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP)

Fertile Yet Fragile: An assessment of progress in implementing Uganda’s Agricultural Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP)

Report for ActionAid-Uganda (May 2013)

This report assesses the extent to which the government’s Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP), is being implemented in certain key areas and makes recommendations for improvements. The DSIP, launched in March 2010, is three years old, and is the flagship programme for improving agriculture in Uganda. The report assesses progress in implementing seven of the specific commitments in the DSIP, concerning: agriculture spending, improving incomes, climate change, labour-saving technologies, capacity-building in the Ministry of Agriculture and the functioning of the sector working group.

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