ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The African Union commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the Maputo Declaration on agricultural development with the launch of the “Year of Agriculture and Food Security” last week at its summit in Addis Ababa.
Around the summit, following discussions of the political and humanitarian crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, I heard the talk turn to agriculture. And African governments certainly have a lot to talk about.
Since Maputo, which mandated that African governments commit to spending at least 10 percent of their budgets on agriculture by 2015, 20 nations have pledged to do so under the rubric of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). Agricultural spending has doubled across the continent, a notable achievement that has shown solid results in increased food production and economic growth for those countries that have fully invested in the sector.
But there is a long way to go. According to a new report from the nonprofit ActionAid, most governments are not “walking the talk” – they are failing to live up to their CAADP commitments.