FSG leads AGRA’s African Agriculture Status Report (AASR) again in 2020

The Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Food Security Group continues to lend its expertise to the African Agriculture Status Report.

In 2020, as in three of the past five years, MSU’s Food Security Group (FSG) is providing technical leadership for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa’s (AGRA) flagship annual status report on African agriculture.  Each year, AGRA selects an external technical advisor to guide the selection of the annual theme, conceptual organization of the report, selection of specific topics to be addressed, identification of chapter authors,and  external review of each contribution, and to ensure overall quality control of the contents of the publication. 

Beginning in 2016, Thomas Jayne served as MSU’s first technical advisor for the AGRA AASR focused on the theme of “Progress towards agricultural transformation in Africa.”  In 2019, Thomas Reardon played a similar role as editor in chief of “The hidden middle: a quiet revolution in the private sector driving agricultural transformation.”  Currently, Steven Haggblade is leading production of the 2020 AASR focused on the theme of “Feeding Africa’s cities: Opportunities, challenges and policies for linking African farmers with growing urban food markets.”  In addition to this major role in leading the AASR, FSG faculty over the past five years have contributed to the authorship of 40% (18 out of 45) of all chapters published. 

This year’s report begins by quantifying the scale of the opportunities afforded by Africa’s urban food markets, which constitute the largest and most rapidly growing agricultural markets in Africa.  As a result of their scale, cities shape Africa’s farming and agribusiness incentives in increasingly powerful ways: they affect spatial patterns of farm production, induce rapid expansion of food processing and trigger growing concerns about food quality, food safety and public health.  As the center of gravity in agri-food systems shifts increasingly toward cities, a collection of new, non-traditional actors – including city planners, mayors, district councils, trader organizations and public health professionals – have become key players shaping and implementing agricultural policy.  Effective governance of urban food systems, therefore, requires new, inclusive models that coordinate and harmonize actions of the many diverse players now shaping African agri-food systems.  The 2020 AASR outlines currently available governance models as well as key public goods required to ensure food quality and food safety as well as the efficiency and competitiveness of Africa’s rapidly growing urban food systems. 

The launch of the 2020 AASR will take place this coming September 8th during the opening ceremony of the African Green Revolution Foundation (AGRF) summit in Kigali, Rwanda.  Following presentation of the key findings, a Panel of Presidents, led by Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, will discuss their priorities for feeding Africa’s growing cities.  A one-hour panel of mayors representing Africa’s major regions and urban metropolises will follow to highlight key governance and resource needs required for managing rapidly growing urban food markets, agro-processing activities and peri-urban agriculture. 

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