The Changing Context and Prospects for Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa
Over the past decade, economic and agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has resumed. The secular downward trend in agricultural prices ended in the early 1990s; growing incomes in Asia and Africa, combined with continued rapid population growth, are fueling food demand, which is expected to lead to a gradual upward trend in international real agricultural prices. For Africa the major agricultural growth opportunities will be in regional and domestic markets for food staples. To seize these opportunities, SSA will have to support economic growth via continued sound macroeconomic policies, further improvements in the investment climate, and investments in infrastructure and institutions. In the agricultural sector SSA will have to (1) remove the remaining agricultural taxation that still disadvantages African farmers relative to all other farmers in the world, (2) improve its services for small farmers, (3) significantly increase its investment in agricultural technology generation and dissemination at national and subregional levels, (4) empower local governments, communities, and farmer organizations for their own development via further administrative and fiscal decentralization and community-driven development, and (5) strengthen the already existing regional agricultural institutions for agricultural trade, biosafety, phytosanitary regulations, seed production, regulation and trade, and technology generation.
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