Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme

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Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) "is the agricultural programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which in turn is a programme of the African Union (AU). Established by the AU assembly in 2003, CAADP focuses on improving food security, nutrition, and increasing incomes in Africa's largely farming based economies. It aims to do this by raising agricultural productivity by at least 6% per year and increasing public investment in agriculture to 10% of national budgets per year."[1]

"The CAADP Pillars are CAADP’s four key focus areas for agricultural improvement and investment. Each pillar is headed by a different pillar leader. These four key pillars ‘Sustainable Land and Water Management’; ‘Market Access’; ‘Food Supply and Hunger’; and ‘Agricultural Research’. Each pillar oversees various programmes working to achieve CAADP’s goals. "[1]

CAADP's goals are to achieve the following by 2015:

  • "Dynamic agricultural markets within countries and between regions in Africa;
  • "Farmers taking part in the market economy and enjoying good access to markets so that Africa, capitalising on its comparative and competitive advantages, becomes a net exporter of agricultural products;
  • "A more equitable distribution of wealth for rural populations - in terms of higher real incomes and relative wealth. Rural populations will have more equitable access to land, physical and financial resources, and knowledge, information and technology for sustainable development;
  • "Africa as a strategic player in agricultural science and technology, meeting the growing needs and demands of African agriculture; and
  • "Environmentally sound agricultural production and a culture of sustainable management of natural resources as a result of better knowledge, more information and the application of technology."[1]

2003 Framework Document

In its founding document CAADP notes the economic reasons for increasing agricultural production and decreasing hunger:[2]

"Until the incidence of hunger is brought down and the import bill reduced by raising the output of farm products which the region can produce with comparative advantage, it will be difficult to achieve the high rates of economic growth to which NEPAD aspires. People suffering from hunger are marginalised within the economy, contributing little to output and still less to demand. Investing in the reduction of hunger is a moral imperative but it also makes economic sense. Agriculture- led development is fundamental to cutting hunger, reducing poverty (70 percent of which is in rural areas), generating economic growth, reducing the burden of food imports and opening the way to an expansion of exports."


Significantly, the document says:

"Globalisation was expected to offer opportunities for growth and development, but in the case of Africa, the hopes and promises attached to rapid liberalisation of trade and finance have not so far been fulfilled. Export patterns continue to be characterised by a small number of primary (often plantation-based) commodities and dependency on preferential access to a few developed- country markets...
"African countries have largely internalised the perspective that a dynamic and sustainable agricultural economy cannot be based on subsidies; yet their agricultural systems continue to be undermined by the subsidies paid out in precisely the developed countries that are the main proponents of liberalisation..."
"Liberalisation and globalisation are often more a poverty trap for them than a path to development."

Yet it also says:

"However, liberalisation of African markets probably holds the key to optimising economies and to creating social wealth."

Agricultural Yields and Productivity

The document sums up Africa's current agriculture as follows:

"Improvements in the performance of the agricultural sector will start from a low base. Africa currently lags behind all other regions in agricultural productivity. For example in 2001, cereal yield in Africa averaged 1,230 kg/ha compared to 3,090 kg/ha for Asia, 3,040 kg/ha for Latin America and 5 470 kg/ha for the European Union. This reflects the limited use of irrigation mentioned earlier but also of yield-enhancing inputs such as fertilisers and seed of improved varieties. A strong relationship exists between the level of fertiliser use and cereal yield as long as adequate organic matter levels are maintained in the soil. The use of fertiliser is about 19 kg/ha per year, compared to 100 kg/ha in East Asia and 230 kg/ha in Western Europe. In terms of technology use, few farmers yet apply integrated pest management methods or any other pest control.
"No systematic records are kept on the use of improved seed but indications are that only about 20 percent of cropped area in Africa and South and Central America is sown to new varieties, while the rest of the area is sown to traditional varieties. With regard to livestock, while Asia uses about 50 percent of the global market value of animal health products, including vaccines, Africa claims less than 3 percent. Nomadic groups dominate the livestock sector, making the servicing of the sector difficult and expensive. Similarly, aquaculture and artisanal fisheries are underdeveloped in relation to their potential in most countries of the continent.
"Furthermore, Africa still faces the problem of high post-harvest losses for lack of affordable storage, processing and other treatment and because of weak linkages with markets. Accordingly, the net food availability from an already limited production is reduced further."

Later, it says:

"The role of governments is to provide a policy and incentive framework as well as an institutional and legal dispensation that is conducive to agricultural growth, to put in place infrastructure that enhances the competitiveness of agriculture in domestic and international markets, and to ensure the reliable provision of support services, especially for extension, research and rural finance, that open the way for the uptake of improved technologies. If such an enabling environment is created, much of the investment in raising output can be made by the farmers themselves."

Pillar 4: Agricultural Research, Technology Dissemination and Adoption

According to CAADP's 2003 Framework document:

"The NEPAD research programme will be comprised of four sub-themes that will collectively contribute to testing the central hypothesis "that conservation and efficiency of use of soil and other natural resources will be optimised under conditions of market and/or policy and institution-driven productivity". The four research themes are:

In addition, a cross-cutting initiative is also proposed, namely:

  • Scientific capacity building."

The report notes that low farmer adoption of new technologies is sometimes due to a poor link between farmers, researchers, and extension agents, so that research reflects donors priorities, not farmers priorities. It also advocates for helping reduce farmers' risk when they adopt new technologies. Additionally, it advocates increased coordination and collaboration among national agricultural research institutions within Africa and notes the role policy can play in slowing down agricultural advancement:

"In many countries import duties and non-tariff barriers impede the importation of seed and improved plant stock. Quarantine laws and local rules on the testing and release of agricultural technologies also slows and impedes the adoption of global knowledge and technology."

Staffing and Leadership


CAADP receives funding from USAID, the European Union, the World Bank, DFID (the UK development agency), the World Food Programme, and SIDA.[7]

Contact Information

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 About CAADP, Accessed March 12, 2012.
  2. 2003 CAADP Framework Document, July 2003.
  3. Pillar 1, Accessed March 12, 2012.
  4. Pillar 2, Accessed March 12, 2012.
  5. Pillar 3, Accessed March 12, 2012.
  6. Pillar 4, Accessed March 12, 2012.
  7. Pillar 3, Accessed March 12, 2012.

External Resources

External Articles