Change language
Displays
Abstract

The African continent has the most rapid rates of urbanization in the world. Because of this, cities are the largest and fastest growing agricultural markets in Africa, with between $200 billion to $250 billion per year in food sales. More than 80% of those sales come from suppliers on the continent, according to a new report.
This has created both opportunities and challenges for farmers, particularly those running small farms. The “Africa Agriculture Status Report 2020,” launched at the opening of the African Green Revolution Forum virtual summit on Tuesday, highlights five areas where policymakers and partners can improve farmer access to these urban markets.
“There are some pressures put on smallholder farmers — they need some help to navigate this transition,” said Steven Haggblade, professor of international development at Michigan State University and technical lead on the report, during its launch.

The “Africa Agriculture Status Report 2020,” launched at the opening of the African Green Revolution Forum virtual summit on Tuesday, highlights five areas where policymakers and partners can improve farmer access to these urban markets.
“There are some pressures put on smallholder farmers — they need some help to navigate this transition,” said Steven Haggblade, professor of international development at Michigan State University and technical lead on the report, during its launch.

For instance, supermarkets will use these wholesale markets if they work well, but if not, they set up alternative supply sourcing systems that typically exclude smallholder farmers, Haggblade said.
“If you want small farmers to have access to urban markets, you need efficient market structures and good management systems,” he said.

New governance
Traditionally, agriculture ministries govern food and agriculture policy. But as countries urbanize, city planners, mayors, district councils, trader organizations, and public health professionals hold more power in crafting agriculture policy, keeping markets functioning, and overseeing food processing and safety systems, according to the report.
“The mayor is suddenly — with no agricultural training, and not much of a technical staff — he or she manages the single most vital component of the whole food system,” Haggblade said.
This could include making sure that truckers don’t spend half a day stuck in traffic and that the drainage systems in the wholesale markets are sloped properly so there isn’t stagnating water that can ruin food products and breed disease.
Currently, there is a “patchwork” of different agencies, often poorly resourced, intervening in urban agriculture and markets, according to the report.
“Improved governance models, therefore, will require expanded resources and more effective coordination among public and private sector governing entities,” the report notes.