Rural development and agriculture are essential to eradicating poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The EU supports various initiatives in the field of sustainable agriculture with a view to reducing poverty, increasing food security and protecting natural resources.
Agriculture, livestock farming, forestry and fishing form the economic base for most of the poor populations in ACP countries. Due to low productivity and heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture, food insecurity and malnutrition are common in rural areas, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Weaknesses in legislative frameworks and standards, management structures and infrastructure are undermining the contribution made and role played by agriculture in rural development and, in turn, growth and employment, and putting the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity at risk. This is why the EU supports a number of agricultural, livestock and fisheries programmes closely linked to the development of trade and private-sector capacity and supporting the adaptation of agricultural systems put at risk by climate change.
Advancing agricultural development in Africa
In a Communication tabled in 2007, the Commission set out a framework for cooperation with the African Union focusing on capacity building and institutional strengthening of regional and continental organisations.
The objectives of pan-African initiatives in this field include support for implementation of:
- the pan-African agricultural agenda developed in the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP);
- the continental process aimed at developing a framework and guidelines for land policy in Africa.
Developing smallholder agriculture in Caribbean and Pacific countries
Agricultural production in Caribbean and Pacific countries faces similar challenges, including climate change, natural disasters, high food prices, small internal markets and reliance on a few export commodities.
The EU seeks to address these problems together with its partner countries in the regions by promoting the development of smallholder agriculture through its closer integration into local, national, regional and where appropriate global markets. It draws on local, but also African technical and institutional resources, where social, economic and technological tools for agricultural development have been tried and tested in diverse environments, some very similar to those of the Caribbean and Pacific.
Programmes and projects
- Strengthening Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) institutions and processes
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme was put in place to achieve agriculture-led development and end hunger on the African continent. This EU-funded project was launched to support the CAADP namely by strengthening organisations supporting the development and implementation of CAADP processes.
- Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme (with a focus on the Caribbean and Pacific)
The programme addresses the specific needs of smallholders and rural communities and stimulates knowledge-sharing to build capacity for the development of viable agricultural systems in regions with limited agricultural land and growing populations in often isolated rural communities.
- Accessible systems to manage risk in family agriculture in Africa
To improve food security and livelihoods of the rural poor in Africa, this initiative aims to enhance access to and use of effective farm risk management tools by smallholder farmers.
- Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) of the African Agriculture Fund (AAF)
The facility was set up to enable small businesses, small-scale farmers, farmers’ organisations and cooperatives to benefit from the investment windows of the AAF by providing technical assistance.
- Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP)
The SFOAP’s goal is to improve the livelihoods of African rural poor producers. To do so, it strengthens the capacity of small Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) in African countries and of their regional and pan-African networks, seeks to influence policies and supports programmes affecting agriculture, rural development and food security.
- Support to Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
This umbrella organisation brings together major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa to play an advocacy and coordination role.
- Support to Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (Phase II)
This EU-funded programme fosters scientific and technical collaboration between Africa and Europe in the field of Agricultural Research for Development with an emphasis on inclusive partnerships with players who are not scientific researchers in order to encourage demand-oriented and mutually beneficial partnerships.
- Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)
The CTA's is a joint international institution of ACP Group of States and the EU. Its mission is to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP countries. To achieve this, it focuses on policy processes as well as information, communication and knowledge management.
- Strengthening Fisheries Management in ACP countries
Building on a previous initiative for strengthening fisheries and biodiversity management in ACP countries, the programme contributes to the sustainable and equitable management of fisheries in ACP regions, thereby achieving poverty alleviation and improving food security.
- Programme PIP Quality and Conformity Fruits and Vegetables - Phase 2
The first phase of the programme helped ACP countries comply with European regulations and standards for fruit and vegetables. Despite the progress made, these countries are still at risk of losing market shares because of international competition and more stringent demands for market access. The second phase of the programme therefore strives to take this process further.
Case study PIP
- Strengthening Food Safety Systems through Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (EDES)
Farming, livestock and fishing industries are vital for the ACP countries as food exports help increase their incomes and improve their trade balance. The EU-funded EDES programme helps local producers in ACP countries produce safe food for local, regional and international consumers.
- Consolidation of the Action Framework for the EU-Africa Partnership on Cotton
The partnership, established to address the consequences of the decrease in cotton prices since the 1990s, has two aspects: trade and development. The latter consists in enhancing the competitiveness of African cotton by optimising producers’ yields.
The EU contributes to the Action Framework of the partnership to the benefit of cotton producers’ associations, professional associations and regional economic organisations through regional cotton focal points, the extension of sustainable agricultural practices as well as the promotion of African cotton quality and transformation.