Policies, Markets & ICTs


Building and implementing sustainable, inclusive and effective ARD policies in ACP countries

Project overview

This Master Project is built around a number of core themes – food and nutrition security, climate change, inter- and intra-regional trade – and sub-themes such as natural resource management. Aspects of social inclusion, science and innovation, gender and youth permeate all activities.

Food and nutrition security (FNS)

FNS is high on the global policy agenda. It is a complex, multi-dimensional challenge, which requires a multi-pronged approach for achieving the desired outcomes. Achieving FNS is proving to be increasingly difficult in the context of climate change and stagnant or under-performing economies. FNS policy decisions taken at global, continental or regional levels must be informed by national systems and respond to the needs of those most impacted. While there is consensus that agriculture is central to achieving FNS, agricultural development alone is not sufficient. A combination of policies – to be determined by the given context – is therefore needed.

CTA will therefore focus its efforts on building ACP coalitions around three main FNS pillars: availability, access and utilization. Alliances will be forged among multiple stakeholders (farmers, SMEs, other private sector actors, knowledge institutes...), multiple disciplines (nutritionists, food scientists...), government ministries (Agriculture, Finance, Trade, Health, Education...) and development partners. An innovation systems approach will be applied. The evidence for informing policy and practice will be co-generated and validated by stakeholders.

Climate change and variability

Climate change is an important topic that has increasingly critical implications for agriculture in all of the ACP countries, which are among the most vulnerable to climate variability and extremes. They are also most likely to suffer adverse effects of climate change given that only a small proportion of its cultivated land is irrigated and food production is dependent mainly on rain-fed agriculture. Impacts of climate change on crop yields are already evident across several regions of the world. While the risks are huge and multi-dimensional, they are largely manageable if appropriate adaptation policies and practices are adopted. Discussions on the link between climate change, food security and livelihood have already an increasingly hot policy topic as is demonstrated in the run up to Paris CoP 21. The potential for changes in existing ARD policies and/or adoption of new policies that encourage climate-smart agriculture in ACP are expected to increase. This is an opportunity not to be missed, all the more so because in the new CTA Strategic Plan 2016-2020, climate change was specifically identified as one of the top three priority themes. 

The present project seeks to address food security and climate change by promoting policies and practices that help ACP regions’ agriculture become more resilient, increasing its productivity under changing climate. It will build on previous activities that CTA carried out in this domain, consolidate and expand existing partnerships, and explore new opportunities for agriculture and climate change through multilateral policy processes and initiatives.  

Interregional trade

Inter-regional trade has been relatively successful during the last decade in the ACP, but much of the growth recorded has been driven by rising global demand for primary commodities. Moreover the external trade of ACP countries is still concentrated around a limited range of products and ACP countries remain marginal players in world trade, with low levels of intraregional trade. Analyses show that significant regional trade opportunities remain to be exploited in multiple sectors, including primary commodities, manufacturing and agriculture.

The renewed political commitments to make regional integration a priority and strengthen its implementation are supported by an increasing political willingness to address the many challenges that hamper the realisation of the potential of intra-regional trade. The past decade has witnessed an upsurge in interest from the private sector in African agriculture and agribusiness. The challenge is now to harness investors’ interest in ways that generate jobs and provide opportunities for smallholders, while respecting the rights of local communities and protecting the environment.  

CTA’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 recognises the importance of inclusive agricultural and trade policies as drivers for economic and rural growth, especially at the regional level. Building on CTA’s previous work, this project will focus on supporting inclusive agriculture and trade policy processes in key areas such as: building synergies between agriculture, trade and investment policies as well as between agriculture and other productive sectors (tourism, for example); capturing new opportunities in rapidly growing sectors (aquaculture, for example); improved knowledge and collaboration with new actors involved in agriculture and trade sectors in ACP regions; building synergies between the private sector and agribusiness and the policy area.