Supporting small-scale farmers

More support for small-scale farmers is needed to ensure the food security and livelihoods of women and young people across Africa

“Food is about land. Without food there is insecurity. Without food you will bend low and your voice will not be heard.”Ejim Lovelyn at CCDA7

Across Africa, people reply on agriculture for their food security and livelihoods. Most producers are women, with agriculture accounting for 70-80% of women’s income. Yet many are denied the land and support they need to succeed. The Oxfam Pan Africa Programme is tackling this issue to support small-scale farmers and help make communities more resilient.

The seventh conference on Climate Change Development Africa (CCDA7)

At CCDA7 in Nairobi, Kenya, in October, small-scale farmers called for an end to discrimination against female farmers in access to economic resources (such as credit, training, extension services, land, information and technology). They referred to the Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa, which mandates the signatories to eliminate all form of gender discrimination, and urged government representatives to adopt gender-sensitive strategies and targets. They demanded adequate resources to implement these improvements (such as gender-sensitive planning and budgeting; increased women’s involvement in decision-making, planning and policy reforms; and the reporting of progress to the African Union).

We convened a side event at the conference on agriculture, land use and climate change and how these issues affect food security and women’s social and economic empowerment. We discussed both the challenges and opportunities with experts, agricultural organisations, women’s organisations, youth groups, NGOs, and policy-makers. A key discussion point was women’s right of access to agricultural land to address climate change through adaptation and mitigation.

At the conference, the African group of negotiators heading to the COP24 climate conference in Poland in December adopted the following recommendations:

  • to protect the land rights of local communities, with a focus on women;
  • to abolish all forms of discrimination against women farmers;
  • to improve access to information and technology for better communication and transparency;
  • to ensure land policies are sensitive to cultural contexts and empower communities.

Agriculture funding petition

To improve food security and the livelihoods of women and young farmers, more funding is needed.

The Oxfam Pan Africa Programme is working with the Eastern And Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF) to petition East Africa heads of state to make allocating and disbursing at least 10% of their national budgets to agriculture a legal requirement. As a convenor of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC), this is a clear move on our part towards achieving agriculture-led socio-economic growth across the continent.

We will draw on the momentum of the Malabo declaration  which calls for investment in agriculture to end hunger and improve prosperity. This is vital for Africa to achieve its United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and African Agenda 2063 commitments. But according to the 2017 Progress Report to the African Union Commission (AUC), the east Africa region was not on track in three of the seven commitment areas: investment finance in agriculture, ending hunger by 2025, and enhancing resilience to climate variability.

What we’re calling for

We’re calling on governments to:

  • implement a multi-year action plan, starting with the allocation and release of at least 10% of the 19/20 national budget to agriculture and set up agriculture investment banks. This would help end hunger and malnutrition by increasing food productivity and reducing post-harvest losses; reduce poverty by sustaining annual agricultural growth by at least 6%; and create job opportunities for 30% or more of young people.
  • commit to triple intra-Africa trade in agricultural commodities and services.
  • disburse the funding fairly to women and young farmers, and direct it to ecological agriculture that is sustainable, promotes diversity, preserves and promotes local seeds varieties and community-owned improved seeds, and preserves agro-biodiversity, soil, water and living organisms. The resources should ensure small-scale farmers have access to financing, adequate extension services, access to participatory research, suitable technology, and equitable markets for their produce.
  • commit to setting up national and regional platforms to ensure mutual accountability and allow stakeholders to regularly review plans and implementation related to the Malabo Declaration 7 commitments and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Zanzibar Resolution 2016 before submission to the African Union.

The petition will be handed in to the African Union in January.

Sign the petition.

For more information, contact Alvin Munyasia, Food Security and Climate Justice Advisor