Integrating Climate- and Market-Smartness into Strategies for Sustainable Productivity Growth of African Agri-food SystemsDOWNLOAD FILE
March 1, 2018 - Author: Nicholas J. Sitko and T.S. Jayne
Nicholas J. Sitko and T.S. Jayne. 2018. Integrating Climate- and Market-Smartness into Strategies for Sustainable Productivity Growth of African Agri-food Systems. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 94. East Lansing: Michigan State University.
To cope with and reverse the worrying trend of widespread soil degradation, declining productivity and increased vulnerability of African food systems to climate change requires a holistic approach to sustainable intensification, which recognizes that action is required within the agricultural sector and beyond. This includes approaches that enable farmers to make long-term soil fertility-augmenting investments and more effective public investments that help farmers identify best practices under the wide range of micro-environments in the region. More broadly, it requires developing policies that make labor and financial markets more flexible and supportive of climate-smart outcomes. This may include:
1) substantially increase investments in public agricultural research and participatory extension services in tandem with efforts to identify more effective modes of implementing such programs;
2) prioritize macro-economic stability, with an emphasis on low inflation and borrowing rates, to enable greater investment in the food system and beyond;
3) transform public subsidies in ways that support the development of markets for organic matter, in particular harvest waste from growing urban areas (e.g., livestock production yards, sawdust mills, waste from retail food markets) as sources of organic compost for farm production;
4) develop policy frameworks to legitimize and strengthen emergent land rental markets;
5) improve labor market flexibility and foreign direct investment policies, coupled with a social safety net fund; and
6) substantially reform staple food market policy in order to create a level playing field for
alternative crops and livestock systems.
Given the enormity of the challenges facing food systems in the context of rapid population growth and climate change, and the importance of collective action in address them, public sector action and effective use of scarce public expenditures to agriculture will be decisive in achieving sustainable agricultural productivity in the r egion. Once enacted, the proposals made here will take time togenerate their full impacts. That is why there is no time to waste in getting started.