African Green Revolution project targets 1.2 million farmers in West Africa

At least 1.2 million small-scale farmers in Burkina Faso and Ghana, are set to benefit from a new partnership between Germany and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to combat hunger, the Nairobi-based alliance announced.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development entered a strategic partnership with AGRA to combat hunger, create jobs and raise incomes in rural areas of Africa, with a key focus on Burkina Faso and Ghana.

AGRA said the partnership is based on a shared interest in country, regional and continental agricultural priorities.

“Agriculture is Africa’s surest path to prosperity. We believe this partnership will be transformational by creating high productivity jobs for young people as an alternative to migration to Europe,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President.

She said the project will also help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers to move from subsistence occupations to viable businesses; and create a globally competitive agriculture and agribusiness sector to produce high value yields.

The partnership also aims to improve investments and policies that advance agricultural incomes of the smallholders, food security, sustainable land use and inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation in Africa that fosters employment and economic opportunities.

Germany is contributing €10 million to co-finance AGRA’s five-year strategy (2017-2021) and to increase productivity, combat hunger, create jobs and raise incomes of 1.2 million smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

“The German Development Cooperation has made food and nutrition security, together with rural development, a priority area of its work,” said Gunther Beger, Director-General at the German Economic Cooperation ministry. “We are delighted to partner with AGRA as it aims to realize the potential of Africa’s agriculture.”

Burkina Faso has achieved the Malabo target on the allocation of more than 10 per cent of the annual national budget to the agricultural sector while in Ghana, the Government’s signature Planting for Food and Jobs programme has, in its first year alone, raked in GH¢1.2bn (US$ 270,276,000) in crop value and created 745,000 jobs.

Agricultural productivity remains way below potential due to inadequate use of high-quality seeds and fertilizer, limited access to finance, inefficient markets, limited rural infrastructure and gaps notably in women access to resources such as inputs, labour, and extension services.

These challenges are compounded by sub-optimal policy environment and inability to effectively prepare and respond to shocks and stresses which stand in the way of Africa’s potential to feed itself.

In Burkina Faso, food imports are estimated to cost US$330m a year while Ghana’s food import bill is US$2bn a year, and projected to increase fourfold over the next 20 years.

This partnership will contribute towards the achievement of the African Union goals of doubling agricultural productivity, tripling agricultural trade, managing one-third of Africa’s agricultural land in climate smart agricultural practices, eliminating hunger, and cutting poverty in half.