Improving African Agriculture Spending: Budget Analysis of Burundi, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone

Improving African Agriculture Spending: Budget Analysis of Burundi, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone

(April 2013)

The five country reports in this document analyse government agriculture spending, assessing how well it is focused on the needs of smallholder farmers, especially women. The reports assess the level and quality of government spending, the extent to which it focuses on providing key services to farmers – such as access to inputs, extension and agricultural research – and the extent to which sustainable agriculture is being promoted. The reports were commissioned by and written for either ActionAid or Christian Aid in 2011 and 2012. They are based on secondary research, interviews with government officials, donors, academics and NGOs, and fieldwork among individual farmers and farmers groups in select areas of each country. The reports have several common themes. Typically, the level of agriculture spending is too low, there is insufficient focus on promoting quality key services to small farmers and there is insufficient attention to sustainable agricultural methods. But Africa does not need a ‘Green Revolution’ so much as a small farmer revolution. There is a need to markedly improve, and in some countries radically transform, agriculture spending and policy to really benefit small farmers and to focus policies on those who do most of the farming – women.

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Powering Up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair: A Five Point Agenda

Powering Up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair: A Five Point Agenda

Report for the Fairtrade Foundation (February 2013)

This report highlights the pivotal role played by small farmers in world agriculture and outlines some of the investments that governments and donors need to make to support them. Small farmers produce many of the commodities consumed by the UK public and grow most of the food eaten in developing countries. But they face huge challenges. Most importantly, they lack power and influence over government policies and international supply chains. The report focuses on food production and on five of the principal agricultural commodities: coffee, cocoa, tea, sugar and bananas. It estimates how much of the retail price for these commodities returns to the small-scale growers, and shows the extent of corporate control of these supply chains.

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Enough Food for Everyone If…: The need for UK action on global hunger

Enough Food for Everyone If…: The need for UK action on global hunger

Report for UK NGOs (January 2013)

Curtis Research researched and wrote the first draft of this report, which outlines some of the key challenges facing the UK and other developed states relating to their policies on global hunger. The report is the launch document for a UK campaign, the successor to Make Poverty History, to change certain UK government policies on agriculture, nutrition, tax, biofuels, land grabs and policy transparency. It calls on the UK, and other G8 states, to invest in small farmers and those suffering from undernutrition, address damaging biofuels and land grabs policies, take steps to end tax haven secrecy and improve transparency of policies.

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The Hunger Games: How DFID Support for Agribusiness is Fuelling Poverty in Africa

The Hunger Games: How DFID Support for Agribusiness is Fuelling Poverty in Africa

Report for War on Want (December 2012)

This report shows that hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money is being used to promote projects designed to benefit some of the world’s richest agribusiness corporations and to extend their control over the global food system. DFID is at the centre of an intricate nexus of corporations and donor-sponsored institutions seeking to maximise private profit from agriculture. Personal connections play a vital role, and there is a significant ‘revolving door’ of staff between DFID and agribusiness corporations, with the personal links going beyond DFID to the heart of the UK government and its economic policy. In addition, this report reveals DFID’s involvement in a network of private enterprises and investment fund managers incorporated in the secrecy jurisdiction of Mauritius.

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Agricultural Research in Africa: Why CAADP Should Follow IAASTD

Agricultural Research in Africa: Why CAADP Should Follow IAASTD

Briefing for APRODEV European NGO Network (May 2012)

This briefing analyses the agricultural research policies of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the extent to which they address the needs of smallholder farmers. CAADP has a huge opportunity to promote good agricultural research by following the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). However, CAADP is largely not following the IAASTD roadmap. African governments are ignoring their CAADP commitment, set in 2003, to double their annual spending on agricultural research within 10 years. Despite the fact that women constitute most farmers in Africa, they are paid lip service in CAADP programmes. CAADP is also promoting a farming model, associated with the Green Revolution, that encourages heavy reliance on expensive external inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and improved and/or hybrid seeds bought from agribusiness companies; this comes at the expense of promoting sustainable agriculture approaches which are likely to benefit poor farmers much more.

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Ghana’s Pesticide Crisis: The Need for Further Government Action

Ghana’s Pesticide Crisis: The Need for Further Government Action

Report for Northern Presbyterian Agricultural Services (Ghana) (April 2012)

This is a study of the use of chemical pesticides by farmers in northern Ghana, asking: how safe is the current use of pesticides and is the government adequately regulating it? The report finds that health problems associated with pesticides use are widespread: NPAS’ survey of 183 farmers in 14 villages in Upper East region found that more than a quarter had recently suffered from directly inhaling chemicals and one fifth from spillage of chemicals on the body. In late 2010, 15 farmers died from suspected pesticide poisoning in Upper East region, most resulting from poor storage of pesticides, which seeped into food stocks. These deaths may well be the tip of the iceberg: Senior health officials believe that some ‘natural’ deaths among Ghanaian farmers might be related to pesticide use, partly since poisonings are hard to diagnose. Around seven banned or restricted chemical pesticides appear to be still being used by some Ghanaian farmers, as are other dangerous chemical pesticides that the government has cleared for use and failed to ban. Food consumers are also affected: Residues from six banned or restricted chemical pesticides have been found in food samples in recent academic studies. The pesticide problem is compounded by unscrupulous private companies illegally importing pesticides into Ghana and by an industry behind pesticides that is driving increased use in Ghana. The government is aware of the dangers of pesticides and is taking a number of measures to ensure the safer use of pesticides, but legislation is not being implemented adequately, largely due to insufficient allocation of resources. The capacity for regulation has not kept pace with the liberalization of the pesticides market that the government has been so keen to encourage.

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Asia at the Crossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming or Sustainable Agriculture?

Asia at the Crossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming or Sustainable Agriculture?

Report for ActionAid (February 2012)

This report argues that Asian countries are at a crossroads in their agriculture strategies. Before them are two farming models: ‘conventional’, industrial farming, promoted by the Green Revolution; and sustainable, or ecological, agriculture – involving methods of farming that are gaining increasing acceptance around the world as the most viable way to promote food security and address climate change. Based on secondary research and fieldwork among farmers in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Guangxi Autonomous Region of China, the report highlights the deep problems associated with conventional farming and argues that Asian countries must promote sustainable agriculture with much greater urgency than they are currently doing.

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Country Successes in Reducing Hunger: How They Did It and Why Other Donors and Governments Should Change Policy

Country Successes in Reducing Hunger: How They Did It and Why Other Donors and Governments Should Change Policy

Paper for ActionAid (November 2011)

From 1970 to 1995 the world made progress in reducing the number of hungry people but the figure always remained above 750 million. Since then, the number has progressively risen, increasing to over a billion in 2009, and remaining above 900 million in 2010. But in this rather dismal global context, several countries have bucked the trend and successfully managed to drastically reduce the number of hungry people. This short analysis investigates how they did it and offers lessons for donors and Southern governments. Indeed, this experience challenges many current agricultural policies. As well as reviewing the literature on how countries have reduced hunger, the paper looks closely at four countries – Vietnam, China, Ghana and Bangladesh – which all show varying degrees of success in combating hunger.

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World Disasters Report 2011: United Against Hunger

World Disasters Report 2011: United Against Hunger

Chapter Six of the World Disasters Report 2011 (September 2011)

This paper outlines what policies and partnerships are needed from governments, donors and global institutions to strengthen the world food system and eradicate hunger and malnutrition. It argues that policy-making at all levels is too top down, and that governments are spending too little on agriculture and social protection, and insufficiently on key areas such as extension services, agricultural research and, crucially, women farmers. Agricultural aid from donors is little better and needs fundamental reform while global institutions have yet to deliver on fine rhetoric.

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Cocoa Commodity Briefing

Cocoa Commodity Briefing

Briefing for the Fairtrade Foundation (August 2011)

Around 50 million people globally depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. This briefing offers an overview of the industry, including the main country producers, companies and the prices paid to small-scale growers. It shows that world cocoa processing and chocolate production and sales are dominated by ten companies. Cocoa growers receive only around 6 per cent of the price of chocolate paid by consumers in rich countries, compared with around 16 per cent in the late 1980s.

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