“Youth and Agriculture Development in Africa”: Recital by Sithembile Mwamakamba (FANRPAN) to the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform Meeting Nairobi, Kenya, 4 May 2012

The 8th Partnership Platform Meeting of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was held in Nairobi, Kenya on 3 to May 2012. The meeting, on the theme "Accelerating CAADP Implementation for Results and Impact", was attended by 270 delegates from Africa and beyond who included policy makers and representatives of governments, multilateral bodies, civil society groups, development partners and farmers' organisations.

FANRPAN was represented at the meeting by its Programme Manager for CAADP, Ian Mashingaidze, and the Project Manager for Women Accessing Realigned Markets (WARM) project, Sithembile Mwamakamba. During the closing ceremony of the meeting, Sithembile made a recital on behalf of the youth that called for "increased and focused dialogue among the youth and between the youth and state and non-state actors on CAADP and African agriculture development". She said youth want to be active participants in agricultural policies, for "Nothing for the Youth without the Youth".

With assistance from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), FANRPAN supported the participation of three youth in the meeting. The youths, who actively advocated during the meeting for greater and meaningful engagement of youth in the CAADP process, were Calvin Kamchacha from the Farmers Forum for Trade and Social Justice (FAFOTRAJ) of Malawi, Evodius Rutta from the Tanzania Youth Environment Network (TAYEN), and Obert Mathivah from the Commercial Agricultural Youth Chamber (CAYC) of South Africa.

The 8th Partnership Platform meeting reviewed progress and shared experiences and lessons emerging from country and regional level implementation of CAADP processes since the 7th Partnership Platform meeting held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in March 2011.

CAADP is an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative endorsed by the African Union Assembly, in July 2003 in Maputo Mozambique (famously referred to as the Maputo Declaration), as part of the African Union's New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to boost agricultural productivity, food security and economic development on the continent.

In her opening statement to the 8th Partnership Platform Meeting, the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, observed increased commitment to CAADP at national level, as shown by the signing of the 30th national CAADP compact by Djibouti in April 2012, and the increasing number of countries making greater investments in agriculture. She advised that the 8th Partnership Platform meeting should redirect CAADP from investment planning to achievement of intended results and impact, whilst the 9th Partnership Platform meeting to be held in 2013, on the 10th anniversary of the Maputo Declaration, should focus on reflecting progress towards the achievement of CAADP objectives. She also called for greater multi-stakeholder consultations, involvement of youth, public/private partnerships, engagement of regional economic communities, and international support for the CAADP process.

The President of the Pan African Farmers' Forum (PAFFO), Ms Elisabeth Atangana, noted the increasing importance accorded to agriculture as a vehicle for economic development in Africa. She said Africa can feed and develop itself, but only if there is greater investment in the sector focusing on smallholder farmers. She called for greater investment in women and youth in agriculture, access to markets, capacity building of regional networks and farmers' organisations, and shared learning between countries.

In his keynote statement to the meeting, the NEPAD Agency Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, highlighted some of the development challenges in Africa that CAADP is seeking to address. These include:

  • Food security as shown by how the continent moved from food self-sufficiency in the 1960s to a situation today where it is able to afford only 20% of its cereal requirements;
  • The demographic challenge that is increasing the number of mouths to be fed, and increasing number of youth who cannot be absorbed by the labour markets;
  • New and growing trends that include the "land rush", increasing profitability of biofuels in the face of the global fuel crisis, impact of the global finance crisis on aid, and impact of climate change on smallholder farming; and
  • Changing policy and practice on and commitment to the role of agriculture in overall development.

Major issues that came out from the 8thPartnership Platform Meeting include the need to:

  • Improve policy regulatory frameworks as the CAADP process moves from focusing on investment planning to implementation;
  • Focus on smallholder family farmers, especially women and youth;
  • Strengthen public/private partnerships in financing country investment plans;
  • Address the challenges facing African agriculture, e.g. the impact of climate change;
  • Enhance the integration of nutrition security, social protection, climate resilience and risk management in CAADP investment plans;
  • Promote the active engagement of non-state actors in the CAADP agenda at national, regional and continental levels;
  • Support dialogue platforms at regional, national and sub-national levels to encourage wider participation of non-state actors in CAADP processes;
  • Strengthen the capacity of country teams to drive the CAADP agenda;
  • Recognize the role of regional economic communities in the development and implementation of compacts and support to country processes; and to
  • Foster a shared CAADP vision through the wide dissemination of CAADP information in all official languages of the African Union and also in major African languages.

Documents from the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform Meeting (background information, presentations, attendance list, communique, etc.) are available from www.nepad.org/foodsecurity/knowledge/doc/2711/8th-caadp-partnership-platform-pp and www.8thcaadp-pp.net

The 9th CAADP Partnership Platform Meeting will be held in March 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and will be hosted by the Africa Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency.

May, 2012
Sithembile Mwamakamba