Monty Jones - January 2012


Published on

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Monty Jones - January 2012

  1. 1. Perspectives Monty Jones building pyramid to generate the right quality of producers, techni- The future of cians, change agents, scientists, business persons, and policymak- ers. Weakness in any layer will weaken the whole institutional Africa’s agricultural structure of national develop- ment. Once the pyramid is intact it will also need to be expanded sector to produce the right number of skilled farmers, mechanics, researchers and entrepreneurs. The creation of human capacity will be futile if the institutional frameworks are not created to facilitate and promote employment and self employ- T he overall statistics on numbers of university places ment. In this regard, policymakers African agriculture are well but without commensurate and development agencies must known. It employs over 200 increases in investment. This has understand that the public sector million people and in most caused the quality of teaching, is only a small player in national countries provides the livelihood training and research to decline development and that its role is to of approximately 70 percent of disastrously, revealed by low facilitate the success of the much the population. Despite this, rankings in refereed publications greater private sector. Africa has the greatest proportion and even lower numbers of The bulk of the private sector of malnourished families. Even patents. Meanwhile Singapore in African agriculture is made up in countries with the greatest has achieved one of the world’s of smallholder producers who, agricultural potential, such as the highest per capita GDP levels with despite having time and again Democratic Republic of the Congo, only a fraction of the natural demonstrated amazing capaci- up to 75 percent of the population resources available to even the ties and willingness to embrace is still undernourished. poorest African country. change, are still misconstrued What is less well known is Some African governments as being bound by tradition and that in recent decades African are turning to foreign averse to risk. As with the capacity agricultural productivity has management to raise agricultural pyramid, so too there is need for been improving much faster production with offers of access to policies that support a private sec- than the world average, with land and investment incentives. tor pyramid with larger agribusi- developed economies having to Views vary on the social and nesses producing the high-quality contend with much less room economic consequences and seeds, fertilisers, and other special- for improvement in the yields even the technical viability of ist inputs and opening up markets being achieved by their farmers this approach in the medium- and employment opportunities and the genetic potential of term, but there can be no doubt by capturing more of the value their crops and livestock. This that it does not offer a long-term added from processing and mar- improvement has been masked by abiding solution. That can only keting on the continent before the the high population growth rate come from good governance, good products are exported. which means that per capita food infrastructure and the release of Ultimately the prosperity of production is still falling. human ingenuity. African agriculture depends, as in In the post-independence There is accelerating improve- industries in all regions, on devel- era it was Africa’s misfortune to ment in governance with more oping symbiotic links between the become addicted to development democratic and transparent con- industry and the producers of hu- projects. Each project brought stitutions and greater awareness. man capacity, i.e. the universities temporary relief and a sense of For instance the growth in mobile and colleges, and the facilitators hope that was rarely justified in telephony will progressively and enablers in the public sector, the project’s outcome, and was curtail the ability to hide abuses. i.e. the governments. When they followed by another that was Africa is also making huge invest- come into alignment there will rarely more successful. Meanwhile ments in infrastructure, especially only be one way for African agri- the true source of national growth in roads and renewable energy. culture: upwards! and wealth creation – human However, action on the third capital – was neglected. essential building block, human It is true that African and institutional capacity, is still Professor Monty Jones is a member governments supported a lagging. Africa must restore the of EMRC’s Executive Committee and dramatic increase in the coherence of the human capacity recipient of the 2004 World Food Prize70 This is Africa