Sustainable Livelihoods and Resilience: Capacity Statement
Agriculture accounts for around 30% of Africa’s GDP in low-income countries, but over 58% of all Africans are engaged in agriculture. In many countries this jumps to over 80%. Over 70% of poor Africans live in rural areas, and food production is central to their livelihoods. African governments have committed to spending at least 10% of their budgets on agriculture under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). CAADP has the potential to provide the legal, institutional and policy environment that will enable and provide incentives for farmers and other market actors to operate in ways that guarantee both economic growth and social gains. However, much spending has inadequately prioritized the needs of smallholder farmers. In particular, key services such as extension (advice and training) and agricultural research have often reached only small numbers of farmers, and usually the better-off, while cash crops for export have often been prioritised over food staples. In addition, insufficient attention has often been given to increasing smallholders’ security over the land they farm. Even more serious is the fact that women, who comprise most farmers in most African countries and who produce most of the continent’s food, have long been neglected.