African Governments need to spend more on Agriculture
African governments spend an average of barely 5% of their national budgets to agriculture, may contribute to increased hunger across the continent, according to a report released today by ActionAid.
Despite the promise made ten years ago to dedicate in five years 10% of their budgets to agriculture, only 7 of the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have consistently achieved this goal.
The ActionAid report, attach the action to the word , warning that African governments neglect smallholder farmers, especially women, who represent the majority of farmers in Africa. Governments and limit food production across the continent, while a quarter of the population suffers from hunger.
The African Union has declared 2014 the "Year of agriculture, nutrition and food security", but ActionAid warns that it will be a vain formula if governments do not commit to "walk the walk speech "and dedicate more money to agriculture. They should also ensure that these funds are better targeted to help the millions of small farmers, especially women, who produce almost all the food on the continent.
David Adama, public funding for agriculture within ActionAid Coordinator, believes that "lip do not feed empty bellies. African governments must keep their promises and allocate more funds to agriculture and ensure that they effectively target small farmers, who represent most of their citizens and provide almost all African food production. "
ActionAid has examined the level and quality of government spending on agriculture for seven African countries: Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.None of these countries has regularly achieved the target of 10% of expenditure in 2003 as agreed by the Maputo Declaration.
Only Burundi and Ghana we achieved this goal one year. Kenya has, on average, allocated 4.6% of national budgets to agriculture between 2009 and 2013, while Nigeria has allocated only 3.5% between 2007 and 2011.
According to ActionAid, governments can find the resources needed to increase agricultural spending by repealing significant tax exemptions available to companies and reducing military spending. Exemptions and tax incentives are thus lost every year to $ 2.8 billion in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania combined. Similarly, Zambia spends more on defense than for its agriculture, and military spending of Nigeria for 2013 are four times higher than those for agriculture and rural development.
Budgetary expenditure on agriculture must also be improved so that small farmers and women have access to appropriate training and advice as well as financing, such as loans at reduced rates.
ActionAid believes that giving women equal access to finance, land, technology and training, agricultural production would increase by 30% and reduce 140 million the number of people suffering from hunger in the world.
According to David Adama, "African leaders must again commit to allocate 10% of their budgets to agriculture in a defined period, and their promises of agricultural expenditure through courageous and ambitious actions and thus avoid worsen the food situation in the continent. "