Agricultural development in Africa is key to relieving poverty and ending hunger: agriculture is still the main economic base for the continent’s poor and accounts for around a third of GDP.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was put in place to achieve agriculture-led development on the African continent, with an aim to achieve an average annual growth rate of 6 % in agriculture in order to reduce rural poverty.
The different activities and sub-programmes are grouped in four areas, the so-called ‘pillars’ of the CAADP:
- sustainable land and water management;
- market access;
- food supply and hunger; and
- agricultural research.
Launched jointly by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), CAADP is entirely African-led and owned. Acknowledging the relevance and value of the programme, the EU has been supporting CAADP at continental, regional and national levels. In the First Action Plan (2008-2010) for the implementation of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership, seven activities on agriculture and food security were indicated for cooperation:
- Accelerate the development and implementation of pillar 3 of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP);
- Enhance agricultural research and strengthen institutional cooperation and coordination between national agricultural research systems (NARs) and regional and international research programmes,;
- Remove bottlenecks to intra-Africa trade in agricultural products, including staple food crops ;
- Include agriculture and food security related indicators in budgetary support programmes;
- Strengthen regional and continental level representations of producers and professional organisations, with effective advocacy and lobbying capacity ;
- Increase national and regional capacities to monitor levels of acute and chronic malnutrition , and
- Increase continental and regional food security information systems and capacities to address famine crises
A number of initiatives implemented in this framework, and aligned with CAADP, received support from the European Commission in the past three years. Several measures have already been launched successfully. These include a project aimed at capacity-building for CAADP institutions and processes (supported by the Commission with a € 5 million contribution), various agricultural research programmes (contribution: € 26 million), support to farmers' organisations and agricultural policy processes (contribution: € 5 million) and to the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (contribution: € 1.5 million).