Highlights of ECDPM activities in support of Food Security in 2012

For an overview of key publications and events in 2012, please click here


In 2012, the programme published five discussion papers analysing regional CAADP processes underway in the COMESA (East and Southern Africa), ECOWAS (West Africa), IGAD (the Horn), EAC (Eastern Africa) and SADC (Southern Africa) regions. Our analysis highlighted major bottlenecks and opportunities for the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in designing and implementing regional agricultural plans and CAADP compacts, as well as synergies with other relevant regional programmes and policies (such as trade, infrastructure, natural resources management). We further produced a Briefing Note to synthesise the key cross-regional messages and concrete ideas on the way forward. Throughout the year, these findings were further disseminated among African and international stakeholders through a broad range of communication channels, including ECDPM’s Talking Points blog and monthly magazine GREAT Insights. Our overall objective was to contribute to the articulation of regional priorities and identification of investment areas through the CAADP regional process, and to mobilise technical and financial resources for the implementation of these plans.

caadp food security rampa ecdpm
Building on these regional “mappings”, the programme delved deeper into a number of thematic areas that are important for understanding agriculture, trade and food security processes across Africa. The research activities were based on an initial identification of REC-specific needs and gaps within the context of CAADP. In Southern Africa, ECDPM in collaboration with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) undertook a study on regional economic corridors, notably the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) and the Maputo Development corridor. The study sought to identify the role of corridors in addressing private sector constraints to market integration as well as the potential role of CAADP processes in maximising the development impact of such corridors on smallholders. In Eastern Africa, ECDPM collaborated with the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation on a study investigating business services and market information to facilitate access of East African farmers to regional markets. A third study looked at the role and impact of emerging economies on the agricultural sector and food security across the African continent, taking Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana as case studies. Once published in 2013, the findings should provide ECDPM’s partners and other stakeholders with evidence-based input for their respective CAADP processes.

Finally, to feed into EU policy-making and particularly the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, we collaborated with Trinity College, the Overseas Development Institute and the Gates Foundation to explore institutional options for monitoring the effects of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy on food security in developing countries. 

Facilitation of dialogue 

In close collaboration with NEPAD, the African Union’s Planning and Coordinating Agency, we supported the development and implementation of regional “roadmaps” towards effective regional CAADP Compacts and Investment Plans. In May 2012, on the margins of the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform in Nairobi, we co-facilitated informal meetings to discuss modalities for assisting RECs in developing the roadmaps. The discussions also explored how to get interested development partners involved in providing enhanced support, alignment and coordination. ECDPM subsequently contributed to the organisation of roadmap meetings for the COMESA, EAC, ECCAS and IGAD communities. The impact of ECDPM’s engagement is well illustrated by the COMESA roadmap, which was informed by ECDPM’s mapping results and followed through on ECDPM’s recommendation to establish a regional development partners working group and to work towards a “differentiated-gears Tripartite” CAADP Compact. 

The ECDPM food security programme also promoted farmers’ engagement in the formulation and implementation of regional CAADP-related policies and programmes. Team members were invited to make presentations at, or facilitate various workshops to support smallholder farmers’ engagement in regional policymaking and implementation. These include workshops convened by the Platform of Central African Farmers’ Organisations in Cameroon (in collaboration with Hub Rural); the Regional Farmers’ Organisations Forum in Tunis; and Collectif Strategies Alimentaires in Brussels. The latter workshop brought together representatives of farmers’ organisations from Europe, Africa and Asia.

The programme further promoted dialogue at continental and international level to enhance linkages between agricultural and trade actors, policies and programmes. This included providing regular input to the CAADP Development Partners Task Team, and its sub-group on regional integration. The centre also supported the African Union in the process of establishing a Joint Action Group on Regional Trade and Infrastructure, a platform for dialogue between representatives of AUC, RECs, civil society, farmers and development partners. 

One of the highlights of the year was ECDPM’s participation at the first ever African Union Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture and Ministers of Trade. At the request of the African Union, ECDPM attended the Ministerial meeting and made a presentation at the Senior Officials meeting preceding it. The landmark meeting provided a rare opportunity for African countries to engage in debate at high political level on how to improve synergies in trade and agriculture initiatives.

Capacity development through strategic partnerships  

In 2012 we built and strengthened our partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders, including African governments and their (sub) regional bodies, farmers’ organisations, research institutes and development partners. By organising joint research initiatives and multi-stakeholder policy dialogues in different African regions we helped enhance the capacity of our partners to contribute to informed debate and ownership of regional CAADP processes, hence shaping more effective policies. 

Over the course of the year we made progress towards concluding formal partnership agreements with key African “drivers of change.” We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FANRPAN for collaboration and joint activities on regional integration, agriculture, markets and food security in Africa, with a focus on CAADP processes. A second MOU with the Regional Farmers’ and Producers’ Organisation in West Africa (ROPPA) was due to be ready for signature in early 2013. 

At the continental level, we strengthened our partnership with NEPAD by maintaining regular contact to share knowledge, organise joint activities and facilitate relations between NEPAD, RECs and various development partners. In June 2012, we held a joint retreat for senior staff of both organisations to explore how to enhance NEPAD’s role as a facilitator of effective multi-stakeholder partnerships to address key African development issues at the national, regional and continental levels.