NAIROBI, Kenya – September 7, 2021: The 2021 Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR21) was launched today at the AGRF Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The report addresses the challenges and opportunities in the creation of sustainable and resilient agri-food systems in Africa. It explores what Building Resilient and Sustainable Food Africa Systems entails, and calls for the necessary actions by governments, pan-African organizations, bilateral and multilateral development partners, and the private sector.
“This year’s AASR21 details the practical steps all stakeholders from governments and regional organizations to the private sector need to take to rebuild and enhance Africa’s food systems,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that despite the progress we’ve made over the last decade, Africa’s food systems remain fragile to external shocks. We must take the opportunity we have to rebuild from the pandemic, to make our food systems more resilient without putting further pressure on the environment,” Dr Kalibata added.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has registered the most rapid rate of agricultural production growth since 2000 of any region of the world. However, three quarters of this growth is driven by the expansion of crop land, over yield increases.
With Africa’s population expected to double to nearly 2,5 billion by 2050, now is the time for stakeholders to put the steps in place to increase production without compromising the continent’s natural resources.
“Raising yields and productivity on existing farmland is among the most important ways to make African food systems more resilient and sustainable. Raising productivity on existing farmland will reduce pressures for continued expansion of cropland, and preserve valued forest and grassland ecosystems and the biodiversity that they provide,” said Andrew Cox, AGRA’s Chief of Staff and Strategy.
The report outlines the priorities and next steps that must be taken by all stakeholders to achieve the transformation that will lead to sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. “The AASR21 should serve as a wake-up call of the need to act urgently to support the creation of resilient food systems and reverse or mitigate the impact we’ve seen on the environment,” said Dr. Thom Jayne of Michigan State University, and lead author of the report.
“One of the first steps is meaningfully increase public investments in agricultural research, development and extension. While agricultural R&D spending has risen over the years, in SSA public investments amount to less than 1 percent of the agricultural GDP in most countries,” Dr. Jayne added.
The report further builds on the call to action to African governments from the UN Food Systems Summit, recognizing the need for urgency in this last decade of the global effort to realize the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The AASR21 was launched at the 11th edition of the AGRF Summit, an annual gathering that brings together heads of state and government, agriculture ministers, members of the civil society, private sector leaders, scientists and farmers in discussions that define the future of Africa’s food systems.
Under the theme Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food Systems, this year’s AGRF Summit will explore the pathways and actions needed to steer the continent towards food systems that deliver sufficient and nutritious food, protect the environment and create sustainable jobs.
You can view the report here.
About the AASR
The Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR) is an annual publication that is published by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) since 2013. The AASR has become a reference point for emerging topics on agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa, such as Staple Crops (2013), Climate Change (2014), Youth in Agriculture (2015), Agricultural Transformation (2016), Smallholder Agriculture (2017), Government Capacity (2018), The Hidden Middle (2019) and Feeding Africa’s Cities (2020). The report has grown to be an important handbook for Africa’s leaders in their plans to transform the continent’s agricultural prospects. Among the trends observed in past reports include increased public private partnership, adoption of technology, use of improved agricultural inputs, a greater focus on capacity development and an expanded focus on extension services.
AGRA is a farmer-centered, African-led, partnerships-driven institution that is working to transform smallholder farming from a solitary struggle to survive to a business that thrives. In collaboration with its partners—including African governments, researchers, development partners, the private sector and civil society— AGRA’s work primarily focuses on smallholder farmers – men and women who typically cultivate staple crops on two hectares or less. AGRA has learned a lot from efforts during its first decade and is now recognized across the continent as a strong voice for African rural development, a prosperous agricultural economy, and for supporting thousands of small African businesses and millions of African families to improve agriculture as a way to ensure food security and improve their livelihoods.
About the AGRF
The AGRF was first held in 2006 as the African Green Revolution Conference (AGRC), hosted by Yara International ASA in Norway. The conference moved to Africa in 2010 with the championing of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who oversaw its transition to an African identity. The Forum now consists of an annual event combined with thematic platforms and activities throughout the year to ensure continuous progress over time. Kenya is the third country, after Rwanda and Ghana, to host the event twice, having successfully hosted the 2016 edition. Afterwards, Rwanda will host the event in alternate years, having been named the home of the AGRF seat. Other AGRF member countries will host the Forum in the years between. In its current format, the AGRF is organized by the AGRF Partners Group, a coalition of institutions that care about Africa’s agriculture transformation.
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