Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
AGRA is a dynamic, African-led partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural “value chain”—from seeds, soil health, and water to markets and agricultural education. AGRA is chaired by Kofi A. Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. AGRA, with initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana.
AGRA’s integrated programs in seeds, soils, market access, policy and partnerships and innovative finance work to trigger comprehensive changes across the agricultural system. Their programs also strengthen agricultural education and extension, address the issue of efficient water management, and strive to involve and train youth.
AGRA’s Leadership and Organization
Mr. Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, chairs AGRA’s Board. A team of distinguished African scientists, economists and business leaders guide its day-to-day work. With a budget of close to US$400 million, as of June 2009 AGRA had approved 116 grants valued at US$83 million in 14 countries. Grantees operate across the agricultural value chain, laying the basis for the kind of comprehensive, integrated change needed by Africa’s smallholder farmers.
Smallholder farms that today produce one-quarter the global average yield could sustainably double or quadruple their output. Their three main goals by 2020 are to:
- Reduce food insecurity by 50 percent in at least 20 countries.
- Double the incomes of 20 million smallholder families.
- Put at least 15 countries on track for attaining and sustaining a uniquely African Green Revolution: one which supports smallholder farmers, protects the environment, and helps farmers adapt to climate change.
To unleash the potential of smallholder farmers, AGRA’s integrated programs work to:
- Develop and disseminate high-quality, locally adapted varieties of Africa’s staple food crops through support to National Agricultural Research Organizations; African crop breeding networks; emerging seed companies and farmers’ cooperatives; and through close collaboration and partnerships with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR);
- Enhance soil health through improving soil testing and mapping; increasing the availability of fertilizers, both organic and inorganic; and training farmers’ associations and extension services in new technologies, including sustainable agricultural land use practices and water management;
- Accelerate smallholders’ access to good seeds and appropriate fertilizers through expanding national networks of rural agro-dealers who reach remote smallholder farmers;
- Improve access to finance for smallholder farmers, agro-dealers and agricultural businesses in African countries, working with local commercial banks to unlock financing through market-based and affordable loans;
- Improve smallholders’ market access through linking them to market information systems and providing training in market function; building storage capacity; and supporting agro-processing operations that enable farmers to earn more for their goods;
- Promote policies that provide comprehensive support to farmers, including policies on seeds and soil health; land and property rights to enhance land security, especially for women farmers; markets and trade to expand local and regional markets; and policy advocacy platforms that strengthen the efforts of farmers’ associations and civil society to benefit smallholder farmers;
- Build African scientific capacity through supporting African PhD and MSc programs in crop breeding; soil science and agricultural economic policy;
- Use a combination of internal and external audit and monitoring and evaluation systems to capture the progress, strengths and weaknesses of AGRA’s work; learn from the work of others; inform AGRA’s planning and risk management; and provide oversight and public accountability. See more