Policy across the agricultural value chain
While the role of improved agricultural technologies and farming practices in the transformation of Africa's agriculture is well understood, the importance of an enabling environment and incentives in driving the adoption of these technologies has not yet been sufficiently recognized.
Hence various policy, institutional and regulatory bottlenecks hamper the adoption of technologies and discourage investment by other value chain actors.
The AGRA policy program focuses on six priority policy areas across the agricultural value chain:
The use of improved seed by African smallholder farmers has been limited by unsupported policies that have undermined potential gains from plant breeding research and development. Conducive seed policies are necessary to promote local seed sector development, improve seed demand and increase crop productivity.
Policies are urgently needed to help improve the supply and distribution of fertilizers, as well as expand demand for them and other complementary inputs that can dramatically raise agricultural productivity. Good practice guidelines for input subsidy programs aimed at smallholder producers are also needed.
Policies to enhance the uptake of integrated soil fertility management technologies are critical in ensuring sustainable soil productivity on the African continent.
Markets and Trade
Competitive, efficient, accessible and equitable markets are essential to transform African agriculture from subsistence into a market oriented agricultural system and reduce poverty and food insecurity.
Any effort to bring a Green Revolution in Africa must be supported by improvement in the efficiency of staple food markets by reducing transaction costs and uninsured risk to offer market incentives for smallholder farmers and also supply affordable food to consumers.
Institutions and regulations that promote market efficiency, reduce the volatility of prices, and open up new market opportunities including promoting regional trade, are critical for the development of African agriculture.
Land and Property Rights
A critical policy challenge in Africa is whether existing land tenure and governance systems, including customary land administration, will allow for equity and security of access to land, especially for women.
We strive to ensure that Africa's Green Revolution benefits the rural poor, especially the women who comprise the vast majority of smallholder farmers, and that it does not make land inequalities worse.
Environmental and Climate Change Resilience
Despite the gains in agricultural productivity, increased farmer incomes, and food security that resulted from Asia's Green Revolution there were some well-documented negative environmental impacts.
Drawing on these lessons, AGRA's Soil Health and Policy Programs are working together to gain a better understanding of the physical, biological and ecological consequences of agricultural intensification, and to promote practices that will lead to both productivity increases and environmentally sound management of Africa's resources.
In addition, AGRA is working to help build smallholder farmers' resilience to climate change through an array of cultivation practices that cope with increasing weather variability.
Building Relationships with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)
AGRA recognizes that the diverse voices and ideas of civil society organizations must be heard and considered in promoting the vision of a Green Revolution in Africa.
Achieving a uniquely African Green Revolution depends not only on the right technologies, policies and institutional support but also on average people across the continent believing that such a revolution is both possible and essential to the continent's progress.
Building Capacity for Evidence-Based Policy Analysis and Advocacy
To enhance the analytical capacity of policy institutions, AGRA is investing in the training of policy analysts and advocates at the graduate level and linking analysts to senior policy fellows for mentorship.