The use of data and evidence by African governments is both timely and necessary for improvements in the quality of policy making and its implementation. It further bridges the constraints and structural blockages hindering an inclusive agricultural transformation.

The Hub for Agricultural Policy Action (HAPA) responds to a noticeable gap in the utilization of evidence within the policy-making cycle to drive policy change.  A creation of AGRA, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,  HAPA is a service offering for the provision of evidence-based support in the Consolidation and Translation (C&T) of evidence; and the adoption phase, which is in the realm of political decision making.

HAPA is intended to support governments seeking to reform, refine or develop a more clearly defined policy direction. The approach plays an important role in inclusive growth and recognizes the urgent need for timely policy support to the agriculture sector, as well as the demands for political expediency and the need to ensure that a particular policy direction is anchored in evidence.

HAPA’s  investments span across 14 AGRA-supported countries

Technical Support to the management of the Strategic Grain Reserve in Nigeria

HAPA is collaborating with the Regional Food Trade team in providing support to develop a framework for determining optimal stock levels for Nigeria’s SGR. The framework shall be used for the ECOWAS region or other countries trying to come up with their own SGRs. The aim of the framework is to identify key issues around policy, storage, and management of Strategic Food Reserves with the aim of improving efficiency of the food reserve and better preparedness in food emergencies and other shocks and stresses. 

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Food and Strategic Reserve Department (FSRD) of Nigeria requested AGRA’s Technical Assistance to help determine optimal stocks levels for the Strategic Food Reserve as well as the optimum sustainable capacity of storage to meet the country’s need under different conditions. 

This would be realized by providing (i) analytical support to determine optimal stock levels for the country’s SGR, (ii) assessment of the existing storage infrastructure capacity, and (iii) designing and developing partnership models with the private sector.

As part of cross learning in policy development and implementation and to stimulate a deeper understanding of the workings of an operational strategic Food Reserve, the Federal Ministry selected Kenya as a best practice in SGR. A Nigerian delegation from the FSRD led by the FMARD Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, visited selected institutions in Kenya between May 16th to 21st, 2022. The delegation held discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, National Cereals and Produce Board, the Warehouse Receipt System Council, FAO and the East African Grain Council.

Support to the Government of Burkina Faso

The government of Burkina Faso launched the “One Million Rice” initiative, whose objective is to attain an annual production level of 1 million metric tonnes of paddy rice by 2025. As part of the implementation, the government aims to intensify production, utilize idle land capacity, and increase local processing of rice. Cognizant of the importance of rice, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal and Fishery Resources (MARAH) of Burkina Faso requested HAPA to help them understand the consequence of the considered rice import substitution policy

The government sees the proposed policy as an instrument to strengthen the capacity, productivity, and competitiveness of the local rice sector. The government also assumes the suggested policy would help them achieve rice self-sufficiency, reduce rice import bills, improve food security and nutrition, and address poverty. The interest around the rice import substitution policy was triggered by the government’s Covid-19 response actions to ensure a stable food supply, while also cushioning local producers from an influx of cheap imports.

HAPA offers technical support to Ghana’s Ministry of Food & Agriculture

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana requested support from the HAPA unit to provide justification for the establishment of a Grains Development Authority (GDA) to help manage the increased production of staple grains from the Planting for Food and Jobs program, which AGRA has supported. The Ministry intends that the new Authority will promote, manage, and regulate the production, procurement, storage, distribution, processing, marketing, and trading of maize, rice, soya, sorghum, groundnuts, and cowpea. The Authority will link public and private sector actions in the grains sector through investment and partnerships in the commodities exchange, the Warehouse Receipt System, and the Strategic Food Reserves. 

HAPA undertook financial analysis to show the financial sustainability of the GDA and its ability to generate internal revenue beyond annual allocation of finances by the government. The results of the analysis showed that the GDA was financially sustainable. This informed development of a Cabinet Memorandum that was approved by the Cabinet, paving the way for the establishment of the Authority. 

Due to the current threat to food security globally and especially on the African continent, The President of Ghana directed the Minister for agriculture to ensure that the Authority be in place immediately to enable the Authority to start grain mobilization in the coming harvest season (2022). Establishment of the Authority is a legislative process to enact an Act of Parliament. As part of HAPA support to the Ministry, HAPA is supporting the legislative process (drafting of the bill); development of an Operational Plan that outlines the expected operational model of the GDA using global best practices, and a comprehensive analysis of the selected value chains (maize, rice, sorghum, soyabeans, groundnut and cowpea) in order to measure input-output flows based on the functional structure of each commodity, map the key actors along the value chains, and identify and address bottlenecks along the subsectors.

Article 43 of the constitution of Kenya (CoK) establishes Kenyans’ right “to be free from hunger and have adequate food of acceptable quality. This calls for robust agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) in the Country. The Government of Kenya recognizes the important role played by AEAS in transforming and modernizing the agriculture sector for improved economic gains leading to improve livelihoods for the communities.

The Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Fisheries and Cooperatives (MoALFC) in collaboration with the Hub for Agricultural Policy Action (HAPA) an analytical unit at AGRA reviewed the National Agricultural Sector Policy (NASEP) 2012 and thereafter developed a new policy in order to address existing policy gaps, capture the spirit of devolution and guide County Governments and the private sector in implementing sound AEAS. The new policy, Kenya Agriculture Sector Extension Policy, (KASEP 2022) is aimed at also guiding AEAS to transform subsistence agriculture into modern commercial production thus contributing towards achieving Kenya’s Vision 2030. 

HAPA has partnered with Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture to provide support towards evidence driven policy making and planning. The first analytical support in 2021, focused on the costs and benefits of offering fiscal incentives to the breweries sector, and informed the government’s fiscal decision to reduce  excise duty rate for beer made from locally grown and malted barley from shillings 765 per liter to shillings 620 per litre. This is expected to promote the use of locally grown barley in beer manufacturing and create employment for thousands of smallholder farmers. The study identified a few issues that required a much more comprehensive analysis that would capture not only more products, but also go beyond just fiscal constraints and incentives. This necessitated a second phase that focused on a much broader list of the products and more importantly going beyond fiscal constraints along the agricultural value chain. The analysis informed the government’s decision on the fiscal incentives that were provided to the edible oil industry in the FY 2022/23 to reduce retail prices of edible oil and increase local processing. 

In phase 3, HAPA is supporting the Ministry to undertake an agriculture sector growth analysis to inform a roadmap towards the achievement of Agenda 10/30. Agenda 10/30 aims at achieving 10% growth in agriculture by 2030, against the current average of 4 – 5 percent. The assignment includes assessing the growth potential of the key agriculture sub-sectors against different levels of investment, evaluating the economic linkages and multiplier effects of increasing agricultural investment and production, and recommending investment requirements in the sector and sub-sectors to drive agricultural GDP growth to 10 percent. HAPA is working with partners – IFPRI and ASPIRES Tanzania to deliver this task. HAPA is also supporting the development of a Project Implementation Manual for the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT), which is a flagship program of Agenda 10/30. 

The Government of Malawi recognizes the need for a food-secure population, hence, achieving food security is high on the agenda. Recurring droughts and global shocks such as climate change and ongoing conflicts afflict Malawi’s agriculture sector, threatening the livelihoods of Malawi’s smallholder farmers, who constitute 80 percent of the population. The role of markets is fundamental to addressing access and availability of food. There is a need to remove unnecessary market distortions, ensure the effective functioning of grain reserves and reduce post-harvest losses to achieve food security.

Malawi is in the process of developing a Crops Bill, merging the Special Crops Act (SCA) and the Agriculture General Purposes Act (AGPA) which is outdated. The purpose of the Crops Bill is to accelerate the growth and development of crop production and marketing in Malawi. During consultations and validation, the Ministry received substantial feedback from stakeholders. The Ministry is collaborating with HAPA to conduct a Regulatory and Economic Impact Assessment (REIA) that will inform a review of the Crops Bill to make it responsive and inclusive to issues prevailing in the agriculture sector in the country and to propose legal and policy options that are cost-effective and with minimum legal risks.

To prepare the country for future shocks in the food systems, the HAPA is working with the Ministry to determine optimal stock levels for the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) as well as to determine the optimum sustainable capacity of storage to meet the country’s needs under different conditions.  It is expected that the outcome of this support will be increased efficiency and sustainability of the SGR operations in Malawi. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) has been in the process of developing the second generation of the Strategic Plan for the Development of the Agrarian Sector (PEDSA II) and National Agriculture Investment Plan (PNISA II). The creation of a conducive environment for the implementation of the two is expected to substantially contribute to a competitive, prosperous, and sustainable agriculture sector. 

Mozambique has been plagued by massive weather and climatic shocks in particular cyclones. These cyclones bring with powerful winds, torrential rain, and severe flooding, damaging, and destroying farmland, vital infrastructure, and thousands of homes, dealing a devastating blow to families.  Agricultural producers face a variety of risks and considerable uncertainty. Some of these risks are managed through production and financial decision-making while others are simply accepted as costs of doing business. Some risks can be managed thorough a variety of contractual and insurance-related products. It is this regard that the development of an agricultural insurance policy and a National Agricultural Scheme has become imperative

Output markets for staple foods are volatile. The uncertain crop prices make it difficult for farmers using high value inputs such as fertilizer and improved seed to be confident that they will obtain a sufficient return from the sale of the additional harvest that they obtain from the use of fertilizer to pay for the input. Understanding the price volatility through empirical analysis is critical in development of critical policy interventions to curb excessive price volatility. 

Despite Uganda’s impressive progress made in over the last two decades in boosting its food production, food security remains an important problem, with a portion of the population failing to access diversified food items. Recent statistics on poverty in 2020 showed that approximately 41% of the population live in poverty (i.e.  on less than $1.9 per day) and this seems to have increased from the decade’s lowest rate of 35.9% observed in 2012.  More so, the eastern region followed by the northern region lead in the intensity of poverty by region despite efforts by the government to reverse the poverty situation through public investment in agriculture.

Uganda has enjoyed a remarkable economic growth that has brought it ever closer to achieving a middle-income country status as part of the Uganda Vision 2040 of A transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years”. The National Vision 2040 is grounded on national ambitions of a sustained development agenda to reach upper middle-income status of $9,500 per capita by 2040, reduce poverty to 5 percent of the population, and improve domestic savings to 35 percent.

Two five-year medium-term National Development Plans (NDP I & II), covering the first 10 years (2010-2020) of the National Vision 2040 have been completed. The third medium-term National Development Plans (NDP III) covering the period of 2020/21-2024/25 aims to raise household income and improve living standards. A departure from NDP I and NDP II is the stronger role of the State in public investment with a particular focus on agricultural investment and agro-industrialization as a key strategic program.

To realize these ambitions and meet the targets of the Vision 2040, a deliberate focus on the responsiveness of public investment in agriculture is critical for accelerating the transformation of the sector and providing an enabling environment for private sector investment in the various agricultural value chains more inclusively and sustainably. 

The Ministry of Agriculture Uganda, in collaboration with The Hub for Agricultural Policy Action (HAPA) seeks to investigate the responsiveness of public investments in agriculture towards the transformation of farmers’ livelihoods and providing an enabling environment for private sector investment in the various agricultural value chains. This will bring out the underlying cause and suggest recommendations.

The Government of Republic of Zambia, in the effort to improve service delivery is implementing a Government Wide Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System that aims at tracking progress in the implementation of development programmes at various levels in line with the set targets in the national development plans and the Vision 2030. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently undertaking various policy reforms to improve agricultural service delivery, and with this focus, it is imperative that the ministry develops a well-integrated M&E system to track the performance progress of the agriculture sector and improve agricultural growth.  

As a key actor, in the development process, the Ministry of Agriculture is required to provide input to and avail its performance to the Government Wide M&E framework on the attainment of sector outcomes in line with the Eighth National Development Plan (8th NDP), and the National Agricultural Policy, amongst others. However, the Ministry’s M&E is yet to fully integrated into the Government Wide M&E system due to structural and capacity inadequacies. The ministry therefore requires institutional strengthening and capacity building to enable it to undertake effective monitoring and evaluation activities. 

Furthermore, agriculture finance remains one of the critical enablers for smallholder farmers to facilitate poverty reduction, enhancing food and nutrition security, create both wealth and employment through agriculture. In the case of Zambia, access to agricultural credit and finance for smallholder farmers is still in undersupply, especially from commercial sources. It is imperative that access to financial services and products for smallholder farmers is made more accessible and readily available. To ensure that this was realized the Government of Zambia enacted the Agriculture Credit Act in 2010. The implementation of the Agriculture Credit Act of 2010 has been marked with several challenges hence the request by the Ministry of Agriculture of Zambia to help assess and review the National Agriculture Credit Act of 2010 to identify the policy gaps and consequently come up with a relevant and appropriate legislation that considers the challenges and policy gaps identified through the assessment and review.

HAPA’s Approach

HAPA enhances progress towards Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (IAT) by supporting governments to make informed policy choices that reduce the distortionary effects and related costs associated with incorrect policies.

Expected Results

Impact

The HAPA investment will enable African governments make data-driven policy choices that improve agricultural sector performance and contribute to an inclusive agricultural transformation.

Outcome 1: Improved policy environments for enabling Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (IAT) in participating countries.


Outcome 2: Timely and more responsive processes for improving Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (IAT)-relevant policies in the participating countries.

Geographic coverage

AGRA supports the development of an effective enabling and regulatory environment for building agricultural input supply, extension and output marketing systems in 11 target countries. They include: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. Three additional countries, Ivory Coast, Togo and Zambia, have been approved to receive ‘light touch’ support as and when resources are available. HAPA works across all 14 AGRA-supported countries.

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