AfDB Board Approves Agriculture Sector Strategy

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Tunis, 22 February 2010 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Board approved on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 in Tunis, the institution’s 2010-2014 Agricultural Sector Strategy.

The strategy seeks to position the institution to effectively contribute to broader development of greater agricultural productivity, food security and poverty reduction while promoting the conservation of the natural resource base.  

Based on wide stakeholder-consultations, the Strategy focuses on Agricultural Infrastructure and Renewable Natural Resource Management.  – two mutually reinforcing pillars where the Bank Group has demonstrated considerable competence and comparative advantage.

The strategy is designed to enable Bank Group intervention to remain focused, selective and innovative with a view to enhancing the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of such interventions in the agriculture sector. Alongside with close cooperation and synergies with development partners and the private sector, this will effectively contribute to realizing the vision for African agriculture.

It is based on the following guiding principles: Selectivity and Complementarities; Country Ownership and Alignment; Smallholder and Market Focus; Stronger Partnerships; Gender focus; Environmental accountability as well as Knowledge Generation and Accountability.

The Agriculture Sector Strategy is consistent with the priorities of the Bank Group’s Medium-Term Strategy and the African Development Fund (ADF-11) Deputies Report. It is aligned with the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) framework and the thrust of the 2008 African Food Crisis Response (AFCR). The document is also aligned with other Bank Group policies and strategies, including those on Regional Integration; Private Sector Development; Higher Education; Science and Technology; Governance Strategic Directions; Fragile States; Updated Gender Plan of Action (2009-2011); Knowledge Development and Management; and Climate Change Risk Management.

An estimated 70% of the continent’s 900 million people depend on agriculture for full-time employment and many others rely on agriculture for part of their household income. Some 200 million Africans face food insecurity, while economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has averaged close to 3 percent over the past 25 years.

Agricultural GDP per farmer per annum has, over the last two decades, risen by less than 1% in Africa, compared to 2% in Asia and nearly 3% in Latin America.  Most of the growth is related to increasing land area under exploitation rather than increases in productivity. At current rates, and unless investments in drivers of agricultural development are increased, it is estimated that Africa will be able to feed less than half of its population by 2015.

*1 UA = US$ 1.55419 = as at 18/02/2010