Editor’s Note

Keep the promise to allocate 10pc of budgets to agriculture

[rt_dropcap_style dropcap_letter=”M” dropcap_content=”ost African countries have rightly identified investments in agriculture as key to achieving their economic recovery goals in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemicinduced disruptions since 2020.”]

The vast majority of the continent’s 1.37 billion people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. The sector accounts for up to 80 percent of employment, 20 percent of total exports, and 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) on the continent. But its enormous potential to contribute much more to the economy continues to be stifled by funding challenges.

The commitments to allocate 10 percent of national budgets to agriculture under the Maputo and Malabo declarations are far from being fulfilled. Commercial lending to the sector remains low, with banks still viewing it as risky. For this issue, we pored over the national budgets of selected countries for the current financial year and put together an insightful special report on the state of agriculture financing on the continent. While the picture doesn’t look quite rosy for public investments, there are some green shoots emerging from the private sector and development organisations.

In an interview with PanAfrican Agriculture, a top executive of Absa Bank discusses why the bank with a large footprint on the continent is taking more interest in agribusiness and how collaborations with other players are helping to bridge the agriculture financing gap.

We also feature innovative projects in which organisations such as ACRE Africa, SNV, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organisation and Heifer International are working with local communities to boost uptake of crop insurance, support the dairy value chain through impact investment to cooperatives and build resilience in livestock production through climate-smart fodder production.