Securing Citizens’ Voice and Participation for Agriculture Development in Africa

January 24th, 2023

By Bethule Nyamambi

TrustAfrica, through its Agriculture Advocacy Programme, convened partners and other stakeholders in a policy and strategy development dialogue: “Agency and Accountability: Securing Citizens’ Voices and Participation in Africa’s Agriculture Development” from 2 to 3 April 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. The two-day convening brought together participants from across the continent, including regional, strategic partners, smallholder farmer organisations, civil society, and government representatives.

The convening deliberated on the opportunities, strategies, priority objectives and actions to advance and secure citizens’ voice and participation in inclusive agriculture transformation and development in Africa. 

Speaking at the meeting, Senior Advisor to the AU on CAADP, Ernest Ruzindaza, underscored the importance of civil society, especially the collective of small-scale farmers in ensuring a demand-driven agriculture transformation that considered their needs and long-term sustainability. To actualize this, the African Union CAADP policy framework has embedded mutual accountability mechanisms which clearly prescribe inclusion and mutual accountability of all actors including non-state actors. More recently the introduction of the Biennial Review Report has ensured governments together with stakeholders in the sector, track and report results and progress made in agriculture development. 

TrustAfrica’s Agriculture Advocacy Programme has established , through its policy and advocacy training workshops, built the capacity of CSOs and FOs to analyse policy and budget provisions for agriculture and table their policy positions to promote inclusivity, transparency and recognition of the role of small-scale farmers in agriculture policy and financing. In support of the Biennial Review (BR) process, which delivered its inaugural report to the AU Heads of State Summit in January 2018, TrustAfrica, has developed a civil society training and resource toolkit on the BR report and conducted training in the countries it was worked. The program aims to improve knowledge of civil society organisations to contribute to the BR reporting process.

There was an emerging consensus from the various stakeholders that there was need to place priority on defending rights and space for small-scale farmer voice and participation and demand a just and inclusive agrarian transition. This is especially important considering that many organizations seek to ‘speak’ for the rural poor and smalls-scale farmers, or otherwise secure their support. Another clear consensus was the need to provide an enabling environment for civil society, to promote and establish self-sustaining local food systems that can integrate into global trade systems and value chains equitably. In addition, civil society will also need to proactively contend with the emerging challenges of climate change and extreme weather events, increasing competition for natural resources and curbing unbridled environmental degradation.

Ensuring the voice of rural communities in economic governance and accountability for the agriculture and environmental sectors remains a priority. 

This two-day convening was well covered by national (Rwandese) and regional main stream media.

Below are articles about the convening:

 

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