Importance Of Agriculture In Africa

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Introduction and background
In the last couple of decades, the importance of agricultural policies and market reforms in alleviating poverty and food insecurity in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA) has gained prominence around policy discussion circles globally. The importance of the sector in alleviating poverty and food security has never been in doubt. The World Bank (2008:3) estimates that three out of every four people in the developing world reside in rural areas, of which 2.1 billion live on less that US$2 a day. The bulk of these people live in rural areas and depend on the agricultural sector for their livelihood. The Food and Agricultural Organisation {FAO} (2006: 33) estimates that the agricultural sector employs around 60 percent of the labour
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Investment in the sector from both African governments and donor has been low. As much as governments in Africa face serious financial constraints, the amount of budget allocation given to the agricultural sector remains very low. The World Bank (2008: 7) report on agriculture notes that while 75 percent of the world’s population live in rural areas and depend largely on the agricultural sector for their livelihood, an average of only 4 percent of governments budget allocations are directed to the sector. Even official aid to the agricultural sector has remained in decline from US$2 billion to US$1 billion per year in the mid 1980s to the late 1990s (Hazzel: 2009: 13). Between 1990 and 2000, analysis of the financial budget allocation of seven Sub-Saharan Africa nations (Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Nigeria and Malawi), revealed that the share of budget allocation to the agricultural sector decreased from 5 percent to 3.5 percent (FAO: 2006: 40). Hanson (2008) points out that while the rest of the world were increasing their funding in agricultural science by 30 percent; countries in Sub-Saharan Africa reduced their funding by 27 percent between 1981 and 2000. While some of the fall in agricultural spending can be attributed to the structural adjustment programmes, it is no gain saying…show more content…
In African the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Policy (CAADP) framework has emerged as exemplary in incorporating these principles. But to what extent is the CAADP framework aligned to domestic political reality? The discourses surrounding domestic policy concerns and how various political regimes influence domestic policies are still limited. Finding new ways of understanding the political economy of agriculture policies and generating fresh ideas is vital. This study aims at contributing to the debate by deviating from the quantitative political economy models and the classical political economy explanations in literature. The main aim of this research is to generate fresh ideas by examining the political economy of agricultural policies through discourses grounded in theory. The grounded theory approach is unique for this study and could generate new theories and insights to enhance understanding of developing country agricultural policy beliefs and political reality of policy process in developing countries. This will help better harmonize donor policies with domestic policy beliefs. The relevance of this study is not only found in the rigorous methodological procedure using rich data. The study will also help better target development work to fit domestic policy needs

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