The Head of Policy and Advocacy at the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Mr Boaz Keizire, has called for bridging the gap between policies and their implementation in the agricultural sector in Africa.
That would lead to a great transformation in the agricultural sector in Africa.
Mr Keizire said that at a workshop by the Agricultural Policy Practice Index (APPI) on how agricultural policy practices could be strengthened.
According to him, the right institutional structure, systems and the right set of people with the skills must also be looked at if policy implementation was to be strong.
He lamented how implementation of policies produced had become a challenge to be implemented citing policy makers who did not come out with policies that farmers on the ground could identify themselves with as one of the challenges.
“The mistakes policy makers have been doing over the years is they forget to design policies that would benefit farmers on the ground,” he noted.
Over the years, many African leaders have come up with agricultural policies to seek to regulate agribusinesses in their respective countries. These policies are designed to achieve a specific outcome on the domestic agricultural product market but these policies are most at times not implemented.
The Director Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust (BEAT) an NGO, Professor Mandi Rukuni, in his presentation, said policy practice required institutional capacity and effectiveness to coordinate and continually update policies of national interest.
Prof. Rukuni said BEAT, with support from The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), since 2014 had helped to Strengthen Agricultural Policy Practice in Africa (SAPPA) initiative.
He explained that BEAT was currently completing the piloting of SAPPA as a country self-assessment tool for agricultural policy practice in three countries: Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.
“BEAT and AGRA recognised that there has been an enduring absence of Africa-led policy initiatives since many African agricultural policies are not implemented,” he noted.
He emphasised that policy practice was to address policy formulation and implementation. According to him, the long-term goal of SAPPA initiative was to create an enabling environment that would support smallholder farmers to increase productivity, profitability and social welfare.
He called for self-assessment for countries instead of waiting to be assessed by others or relying on international rating agencies and give priority to policies that could be implemented with existing knowledge and resources.
He also urged governments to engage farmers, producers, entrepreneurs at different points of policy implementation.
The President of AGRA, Dr Dr Agnes Kalibata, said the most important sector in sub-Saharan Africa was agriculture and that there was the need to put in place effective regulatory policies to improve the sector.
She said there should be an urgent need for the African Union and the national governments through the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) to come out with national strategies that would seek to reduce climate change.
Purpose of the workshop
The workshop that was attended by member countries of AGRA was to secure broader stakeholders participation and engagement on strengthening agricultural policy practice as a tool for accelerating the implementation of national agricultural investment plans and to galvanise and coordinate stakeholders around a policy practice capacity strengthening agenda for Africa.
The objectives include sharing of agricultural policies practice and method of self-assessment, discuss plans of implementing a refined tool in other 12 African countries, exploring relevance of the tool and country self-assessment.