Regional Policy Initiatives
Most of the macro level policy interventions, focused on strengthening implementation of the CAADP framework in partnership with the AUC/NPCA, IFPRI, AfDB, COMESA/ACTESA, EALA and Non State Actors (NSAs). A number of meetings and working groups were convened to frame the tools to strengthen mutual accountability in delivering agricultural transformation in Africa.
Two important tools, the CAADP Score Card and the Agricultural Policy Practice Index (APPI) were framed with stakeholders’ support in the sector including donors, government’s practitioners, NSAs, Academia, and think-tank.
The CAADP score card will support the monitoring and evaluation of the National investment plans, measure progress made on implementing the CAADP frameworks and commitments from the Malabo Declaration while the APPI will focus on detailed aspects of Policy formulation and implementation for agricultural transformation.
AGRA, Policy and Advocacy team also contributed to shaping the vision and mandate of ACTESA/COMESA at the second Advisory Committee meeting chaired by AGRA.
AGRA has engaged with AUC/NPCA to define key areas and value chains to contribute to in the implementation of CAADP in AGRA countries and shaping national investment plans.
AGRA in collaboration with AUC/NEPAD/AfDB successfully started off the Seize the Moment Campaign under the theme “Seize the Moment,- Securing Africa’s Rise through Agricultural Transformation”.
The Seed Policy Node andHub program workedon the harmonizationof seed regulations across theEconomic Commission of WestAfrica States (ECOWAS) includingcommissioning studies on review ofquality assurance manual, adoptionrates of improved seeds by smallscale farmers, seed certificationmanual, review of the national seedquality and certification manual andnational seed plan in 2015.
The Council of AgriculturalMinisters of ECOWAS had earlieragreed to gazette the ECOWASseed regulation in 2008 toharmonize the rules governingquality control, certification andmarketing of plant seeds andseedlings in region.
In Ghana, the legislativeframework requires ECOWASgazettements be approved byParliament before implementation..This requirement stalled theprocess due to a lack of fundsto bring Parliamentary SelectCommittee on Agriculture, Foodand Cocoa affairs together.The Micro Reforms for AfricanAgribusiness (MIRA) Coordinatorsvisited the Ghana Attorney Generalto restarted the legislative process,,worked with the Director ofCrop Services and supported aparliamentary concensus workshop.The Parliament finally ratifiedthe ECOWAS harmonized SeedRegulations in July 2016.
Similarly, the Seed HealthNode and Hub worked on theharmonization of fertilizerregulations across ECOWASincluding commissioning studies onfertilizer price build-up to provideevidence for engaging governmentin their intervention to mitigateprice hikes.
AGRA Soil Health PolicyNode commissioned policy analysis study in 2015 to assess feasibility for increased local fertilizer production and blending in Tanzania. The Study recommended reforms on fertilizer laws and regulations which hinder progress on fertilizer blending and detailed soil mapping to determine limiting nutrients and inform the manufacturing of appropriate blends.The MIRA initiative supported fertilizer industry stake holder convenings through the Fertilizer Society of Tanzania and Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority(TFRA) to review and amend the fertilizer regulations of 2011.
The new fertilizer regulations that include reforms on fertilizer registration are awaiting theMinister’s approval.
AGRA Soil Health PolicyNode commissioned a policy analysis study in2014 that developed an electronic monitoring and tracking mechanism for National Agricultural InputVoucher Scheme (NAIVS) to improve targeting and efficiency of fertilizer subsidy program. However, the Government abandoned NAIVS in2014/15 and replaced it with a loan facility given to farmers in credit groups. in 2016, MIRA supported the drafting of a cabinet paper that made a case for re-introduction of the NAIVS. This drew on previous fertilizer subsidy study commissined by Soil Health Node. As a result of this effort, theGovernment re-introduced NAIVS in2015/2016 This reform is MIRA first successful change in Tanzania.
In 2011 the Minister of Agriculture issued a circular on licensing private seed firms to deal in public seed varieties. With support from AGRA’s MIRA, SouthernAgricultural Growth Corridor ofTanzania (SAGCOT) and Tanzania’sPolicy Process - SERA and theTanzania Seed Trade Association(TASTA) organized a seed industry stakeholder meeting in 2015 to seek for clarity from Ministry of Agriculture on the circular. These regulations were resubmitted to stakeholders at meeting organized by the Ministry. In 2016, the regulations were presented to the Minister of Agriculture for review and signature. The Regulations are planned for commissioning in 2017
The MIRA Nigeria project plays a significant role in strengthening the capacity ofNigerian Agribusiness Group (NAGB)to lead the coordination and facilitation of MIRA activities. NABG organized a public- private platform in Nigeria through the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria(FESPAN), the Seed EntrepreneursAssociation of Nigeria (SEEDAN), other private sector organizations, and theFederal Ministry of Agriculture andRural Development (FMARD).
The NABG led the planning, coordination and management of there form options through the various administrative and legislative processes and stages of government approval prior to implementation. The key policy recommendations of the NABGPresidential Presentation Committee are underpinned by MIRA reforms inagri-inputs and services and market price stabilization mechanisms. TheMIRA Nigeria reforms focus on the Fertilizer Quality Control Bill and theRevised Seed Act.
The NABG presented the agri in puts and market price stabilization reform options targeted under the project during the Federal and State government-ledNational Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) Conference in Kano.
The Fertilizer Quality Control Bill went through the House of Representatives’ first reading in December 2015; second reading in January 2016; and third hearing in June2016. However, it has not yet been debated in the Senate. This Bill is currently at the concurrence stage in the National House ofAssembly.
The Revised Seed Bill reform progressed in the House of Representatives from the stage of Second Reading that was conducted on 28 April 2016 to Committee Stage andPublic Hearing but has not been debated in the Senate. The Committee Stage andPublic Hearing had been scheduled betweenSeptember and October 2016, although this was postponed to the first quarter of 2017.
A presidential committee on gas and fertilizer was inaugurated by the President inNovember 2016 with a mandate to ensure that fertilizers were affordable and available throughout the country. This committee is chaired by the Executive Governor of Jigawa State. It draws membership from the relevant ministries, department and agencies.
Reforms were initiated on the Directive/Guidelines for streamlining of policy processes and procedures for cereals export restrictions. Amongst the reforms introduced were the comprehensive legal frame work governing contract farming to support agro-processing and value addition. It included reducing the burden on players within the sector by reviewing import duties on agricultural machinery spare parts, irrigation and drainage equipment, animal feed as well as the ingredients incorporated into compound feeds. A review was initiated of existing best practices on mechanisms to ensure that export restrictions were implemented in a predictable and transparent manner.
The Agricultural Transformation Agency’s progress on the TransformationAgenda, focused on Agribusiness, Markets and Enhanced Implementation CapacityVerticals.MIRA policy outputs were instrumental in persuading the Government of Ethiopia to lift the export ban on maize. The StateMinister for Trade publicly announced this decision at the 4th National Cooperatives Bazar and Symposium.
The Direction Généralepour la Promotionde l’Economie Rurale(DGPER), Ministère de l’Agricultureet des Aménagements Hydrauliques(MAAH) led the planning and coordination of agricultural policy and regulatory reform options and necessary stages of government approval prior to implementation.
The reforms focused on theAgricultural Sector InvestmentCode, Warehouse Receipt System(WRS) for agricultural products, marketing regulations to prioritize procurement of domestic agricultural staple products and domestication of ECOWAS harmonized seed and fertilizer laws, and regulations.
A technical committee led byDGP R revised the AgriculturalSector Investment Code document, which was approved by the MAAHand other relevant Ministries. MIRA facilitated the approval of the document, which was submitted to the General Secretariat of theGovernment for review and approval by the Technical Committee for the Consideration of Draft Bills(COTEVAL) before it was introduced to the Council of Ministers. The decrees for the application of theCode were developed in December2016.
A technical committee was setup to draft the national strategy for the development of a warrant age and warehouse receipt system.The document was validated by stakeholders and a new draft of the strategy was produced. This now awaits the signature of the Minister of Agriculture.
The reforms on agricultural marketing regulations were presented to the incoming Minister of Agriculture. To make the case for market reforms, the DGPER made a presentation at the national meeting of rice value chain actors to illustrate how Burkina Faso could successfully market domestic rice production.Consequently, contracts were signed between ministry departments, agencies and local rice suppliers to procure 15,000tons of domestic rice. A circular was developed and signed by the Secretary-General of MAAH, directing government departments to use domestic products in the meals served during official ceremonies and meetings.
In Mali the policy and advocacy work was executed through the Observatoire Mali en du Marche Agricole, (OMA). Through a series of advocacy meetings, OMA helped to fast-track the approval and adoption of the WarehouseReceipt System law in a bid to pave the way for value chain actors to access finances, warehouses and markets for agricultural products in the region. Other sensitization meetings and broadcasts on key findings of their assessment on the lack of enforcement of ECOWASlaws and regulations on inputs are still on-going.