The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Burkina Faso that will see the organization extend its operations in the West African country.
The MoU was signed in Accra on Tuesday 3 September 2019 by AGRA President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata and Burkina Faso’s Minister for Agriculture and Hydraulic Development, Salifou Ouedraugo, under the witness of international dignitaries meeting in the Ghanaian capital for the 10th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).
AGRA has worked in Burkina Faso since 2006 making investments in input and output markets, systems development, innovative finance, research capacity building and policy development. So far, AGRA has invested US$21.5 million in Burkina Faso’s agricultural sector, building an asset base in technologies, partnerships and models that can now be scaled for significant impact on the status of inclusive agriculture in Burkina Faso.
Some of the investment was used to train 413,587 farmers on Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), a set of agricultural practices adapted to local conditions maximizing the efficiency of nutrient and water use to improve agricultural productivity. As a result of the training, 86,295ha of land were cropped with the production enhancing technologies. In addition, through AGRA’s intervention, 9,849 MT of produce were commercially aggregated at a value of US$ 1.9M. Similarly, AGRA’s support led to the development and release of 17 varieties of improved seed in Burkina Faso out of which six were commercialized. This is in addition to 38 Burkinabe scholars receiving support in the acquisition of PhD and MSc degrees. All these investments, brought together, contribute to the government’s National Plan for Economic and Social
Development (PNDES), which pursues an agriculture-led transformation of the economy.
AGRA promises to maintain its contribution to the government’s quest for a robust agriculture industry strategy that effectively mobilizes resources for the benefit of smallholder farmers and other players in the food value chains. In its role, AGRA will continue until 2023 to invest funds and other supportive resources to meet the Government’s need for a strong agriculture sector that creates employment and improves food security through support for effective coordination and implementation of national plans.
“Burkina Faso is one of the countries where we have received great support since we began our operations in Africa. The signing of this MoU is confirmation of our commitment to our partnership in the fight against food shortage and poverty, with the confidence that by 2025, the country will have achieved the goal of zero hunger,” Dr. Kalibata said.
AGRA will help strengthen Burkina Faso’s agricultural sector systems for improved productivity and the marketing of produce to increase the incomes of at least 1 million smallholder farmers. In return, the Government of Burkina Faso pledges unilateral support for AGRA by providing an enabling environment for collaboration.
“In the years that we have worked with AGRA, we have realised that it is a serious and competent organization and we promise unlimited support for their operations as we pursue food security for our country and the continent at large,” Mr. Ouedraugo said.
Burkina Faso’s economy has grown considerably during the past decade with an annual average growth rate of over six percent. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, forestry and livestock farming, as well as the exploration of mineral resources. Agriculture contributes about 30 percent of the country’s GDP and employs over 80 percent of the workforce. The sector is dominated by small-scale farms of less than five hectares and its main products are sorghum, millet and maize, and cotton.
Before the gold mining boom, cotton was the main commodity exported, accounting for about 60 percent of export revenues. Presently, the country represents less than 15 percent of export revenues, but Burkina Faso remains one of the leading producers and exporters of cotton in Africa.