Message from our President
African challenges, uniquely African solutions
Welcome to our 2020 Annual Report. The theme of this year’s report is how AGRA has been nurturing change and how we begin to see this impact farmers. We highlight the emerging results of AGRA’s work as we enter the final year of our 2017-2021 strategic period. We have drawn out our impact at national level, at the level of the key systems necessary for agriculture to work, and at how farmers themselves have been able to take advantage of new opportunities.
The last four years have been challenging for African agriculture with climate change turning into a reality, with the associated advent of Fall Armyworm and resurgence of locusts in the Eastern part of the continent. These have all been compounded by COVID-19.
Despite these challenges, AGRA delivered results on the ground, working alongside our PIATA partners. We exceeded many of our targets as we work with our partners to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and build resilience among rural communities.
During the year, we reached over 3.9 million smallholder farmers, taking our total of farmers directly reached to some 10 million over life of strategy. Beyond this, we estimate that 44 million farmers have been touched in some way by AGRA since it was founded in 2006 through our work to advance functional input systems and capacity, and policy support to governments.
These are not hypothetical figures. Farmers reached are more likely to have had access to quality inputs, output markets and to have learned better farming. In many cases, this has led to improved yields, income and food security.
We see farmers adopting new and African specific technologies and practices, harvesting and processing more crops, being able to sell them for more income, contributing to their families’ livelihoods and wellbeing. Our investment in off-taker networks has helped to build markets and livelihoods. We now have 2.6 million farmers selling surplus produce through structured off-taker trading arrangements, generating
over USD1 billion in smallholder revenue. We see improvements that we have all been able to support in the entire agriculture ecosystem, which AGRA has made measurable contributions towards.
We must double down on innovation and support to countries to ensure that hard won gains to date are not completely eroded.
We also worked through some 400 implementing partners across 14 countries to build last mile delivery systems. We appreciate their dedication and their focus. Over the last three years, these partners have collectively been able to reach over 16 million farmers. A dedicated team of 32,000 men and women engaged as village-based advisors (VBAs) have worked with farmers to provide knowledge about best practices, for example, to reduce post harvest losses.
Changing agriculture in Africa takes time, and there is much work still to be done. But we are excited by what we have been able to catalyze working with governments, local SMEs and multiple other partners. Like anywhere else in the world, Africa faces more hunger and more malnutrition and even obesity challenges coming out of COVID-19. We must double down on innovation and support to countries to ensure that hard won gains to date are not completely eroded. At the same time, we must ensure that we come through recognizing that our planet – our farming landscapes – need to be better managed and nurtured.
AGRA will draw on vital lessons from our current 2017-2021 strategy, including a renewed focus on gender and inclusion to meet the needs of women and youth, and environmental sustainability. These are two key aspects of what must be done to build more resilient food systems, learning from the 2021’s UN Food Systems Summit.
Looking forward, we will continue to connect the dynamic range of actors in the farmer ecosystem, facilitating and convening on critical issues at national, regional and continental levels. As we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic, one thing is clear: AGRA’s relevance, purpose and drive have never been stronger. We look forward to working with all our partners on the journey ahead.
I hope you enjoy this report.