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"Advancing African Agriculture": Policy and knowledge strategies

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By John A. Okidi, IFPRI - Brussels, 17 October 2007 …

By John A. Okidi, IFPRI - Brussels, 17 October 2007

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  • 1. “Advancing African Agriculture” Policy and knowledge strategies John A. Okidi Research Fellow - IFPRI INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
  • 2. Introduction  Agric, the economic mainstay of Sub-Saharan Africans  Faces enormous, especially supply-side, constraints  Pessimist contend that nothing short of a Green Revolution kind of intervention is required  No originally ag-based LDC developed w/o ag dev’mt  Achieving the MDGs in Africa anchors on ag dev’mt  EC support is, therefore, targeting the right sector INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 2
  • 3. Rest of the presentation  Pose a general question about the EC communication  Highlight some missing links  Discuss policy, role of the state & general strategy  Reconsider the role of the EU  Outline issues on research & knowledge utilization  General closing remarks  Remarks on the partnership role of IFPRI INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 3
  • 4. The EU assistance package - Question  After financing  Formulation of ag development strategy  Capacity building for good sector governance  Research, knowledge systems & dissemination  Systems for quality assurance and improvement  Strengthening of animal disease control knowledge & systems  Organizational strengthening for risk management  Then what next? How do these translate to real improvements at the farm level? INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 4
  • 5. Some of the missing links  Indeed, the areas are consistent with the EC chosen focus on policy, regulatory & other enabling conditions  Further, the level of intervention is regional & continental  But why these choices?  Why the presupposition of farmers’ readiness to respond?  Reality: Most African farmers are severely constrained  Resources to ward off weather fluctuations, e.g. irrigation  Finances for improved inputs (seeds, fertilizer, pesticides)  Finances for other improved ag technologies  Finances for regular production, harvest, post-harvest and marketing requirements INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 5
  • 6. Policy, the state and strategy  Courageously redefine the role of the state, radically  Continue promoting regulatory & enabling environments  Incrementally re-engage in targeted farm subsidies  Relax the strategy of “restrictive use of subsidies”  If we can subsidize education & health, why not ag?  When ag is basically a public sector in the West, why can’t African gov’ts also act within reasonable limits?  At Africa’s dev’mt stage, public financing for real sector response to enabling conditions and opportunities is critical for broad-based growth INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 6
  • 7. Role of the EU  Minimize drawing lessons from EU experience  Hence, de-emphasize EU-originated technical assistance  Draw on continental, regional and national lessons from Africa’s past and present to the greatest extent possible  Engage Africa-based experts to the fullest extent  Emphasize budget support rather than project-like micro- involvement  Hence, harness greater ownership of the process and outcome  Encourage some deviation from current policy stance, e.g. expansionary fiscal policy, rationally-managed exchange rate regimes, less obsession with inflation targeting. INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 7
  • 8. Socioeconomic Research and knowledge (1)  So much has been done, oftentimes asking the same questions that have been asked and answered before  Most research findings are “pretty much expected”  Lots of facts and figures, and knowledge exist  Lots of good policy documents, well-conceived implementation, and monitoring & evaluation strategies  Implication  Review what research components are really necessary  Focus on baseline stocktaking of current state of affairs & knowledge, to inform intervention design refinement  Provide for follow-ups for impact monitoring & evaluation INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 8
  • 9. Socioeconomic Research and knowledge(2)  Encourage research that experiment innovative ideas  Then deploy the services of • International research organizations • Continental research organizations • Regional research organizations • National research institutes • Networks of national research institutes  Minimize disparities in fee rates simply due to geography INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 9
  • 10. Closing remarks (1)  Recognizing ag as a sector in its own right is critical; not a transitory sector. Indeed, the communication recognizes the sector’s role in growth and poverty reduction  Remember: Good policies, strong institutions, effective regulatory framework and enabling environment alone cannot deliver the MDGs – they do not directly enter the typical production function  Note: The broad strategy in the communication, which is also the dominant strategy in development assistance sharply contrasts the state-driven, market-mediated and small-farmer based strategy that underpinned most Asian countries’ agricultural revolution. INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 10
  • 11. Closing remarks (2)  Whatever policy, institutional and knowledge strategies  IFPRI’s role  To partner on research and policy analysis  To design credible and relevant research programs  To undertake program monitoring and impact evaluation  To experiment certain aspects of the intervention areas  To mobilize resources to take forward auxiliary issues  To partner with you on future programs INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 11