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POLICYMAKING: AGRICULTURAL TRANSFORMATION AND THE POLITICAL ECONOMY

An important factor that shows whether an agricultural transformation vision is achievable is the political
economy of that country. This refers to the space the leadership operates within, that is if these leaders
support such vision or not. Political leaders need money to capture power and these always comes with
conditions.

If countries largely rely on mining and export of raw materials with strong interest groups in these sectors, it would be difficult for leaders to push a vision that seeks to focus on the transformation of agriculture. The reason for this is that the conditions determine how the funding to the politician is utilized.

This situation can be addressed in a number of ways:

First is to enhance the structures for cooperation among government agencies and between outside actors and public agencies. In 2017 Liberia adopted this approach when it constituted the Presidential Task Force on Agriculture which led to a more concerted effort from the various government agencies to push the agricultural transformation vision.

Political leaders need money to capture power and these always comes with
conditions.

Lesego Holzapfel

Another way to get around this is to assist SMEs in agriculture to scale using specialized business solutions and funding. This would enhance the different nodes along the value chain and rake in lots of returns in the long term.

Furthermore, leadership could also encourage investments in aspect of the value chain that are weak but with strong potentials. For instance, governments can encourage multinational processors to set up in their countries. As an example, Côte d’Ivoire attracted OLam to set up factories for cocoa production. It could also involve encouraging dealers in crops and fertilizers to seize the opportunities that come with value addition.

Finally, the technical capacity of government staff needs to be further developed. Infusing such efficiency in the agricultural value chain and marketing channels will lead to improving the delivery and performance of the government bodies and staff and also help them better appreciate the vision and how to go about implementing it on the ground.

Join the conversation! At lesego.org, we engage critical issues about the African continent especially in the areas of Agriculture and leadership. We lend a voice to advocacy for rural farmers in South Africa and the African continent as a whole. Get a free guide to establishing cooperatives for Agripreneurs. You can help raise awareness by sharing this post and joining the conversation by leaving a comment. Thank you!

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