COMESA develops a Regional Agriculture Investment Plan




The Malabo Declaration of 2014 reaffirmed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as the key policy framework for Africa’s agricultural transformation and provided targets for action. Subsequent to the endorsement of the CAADP Compact by stakeholders in November 2014, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) is collaborating with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of strategic interventions that individual member countries cannot achieve on their own by 2025. To this end, COMESA has developed the CAADP Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (RAIP).

The RAIP focuses on four Regional Investment Priority Areas (RIPAs), namely: production and productivity of commodity value chains within selected agricultural corridors; agricultural trade and markets; resilience, food and nutrition security; and coordination and cross-cutting issues. Having compiled a draft RAIP with implementation measures and a results framework, COMESA hosted a two-day stakeholders’ workshop (2829 August, 2017) in Johannesburg, South Africa, to review the work that has been compiled thus far and make recommendations towards the development of a final submission.

The workshop was also intended to draw inputs into the indicative costing as well as potential financing mechanisms for the implementation of the RAIP. Proposals were duly made under each RIPA and discussed extensively on how they should be captured in the revised text. Of note, delegates were concerned about possibilities of the RAIP undermining or conflicting with other regional programmes implemented, for instance by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or the East African Community (EAC).

However, it was confirmed that such organisations are part of the stakeholders that have contributed to the development of the RAIP and continue to lend their support in every way possible. In the end, COMESA and FAO were commended for the commitment they have made and they, in turn, urged stakeholders to continue with their support as the process moves to the next stage of resource mobilisation. Stakeholders present included government representatives, regional organisations, farmers’ organisations, development agencies and the private sector. The SACAU delegation comprised representatives from Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), Swaziland National Agricultural Union (SNAU) and SACAU Secretariat.