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Transforming agriculture to achieve sustainable development

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Eliminating hunger and all forms of malnutrition is about more than just increasing food production

© Simone D/ World Bank

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Hunger is on the rise again even though there is enough food to feed the world. According to the UN, over 800 million are currently going hungry as a result of conflict, drought and disasters linked to climate change. Eliminating hunger and all forms of malnutrition is about more than just increasing food production; it encompasses the need to improve the quality and nutritional value of food, raise incomes and strengthen food systems to ensure that everyone has access to healthy food.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN in 2015, led to wide recognition of the importance of sustainable agriculture in tackling the root causes of poverty, and hunger. Food and agriculture are not only important for achieving SDG2 – ‘Zero Hunger’. As highlighted during a recent Brussels Briefing, sustainable food and agriculture can also have positive impacts on inclusive economic growth and decent work (SDG8), health (SDG3), education (SDG4), gender equality (SDG5) and ecosystems (SDG15).

In accordance with the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Malabo Declaration and other global and regional policies, CTA has been working to shape next generation farming and contribute to the transformation of agriculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). CTA’s refreshed 2018-2020 strategy, for instance, identifies three key priorities to support the achievement of the SDGs:

  • facilitating youth entrepreneurship and job creation (SDG5 and 8);
  • increasing the productivity and profitability of agricultural value chains through digitalisation and related innovations (SDG2);
  • promoting climate-smart agriculture practices and policies (SDG13).

CTA has placed particular focus on the realisation of target 2.3 of SDG2: Doubling smallholder agriculture productivity and incomes by 2030. Towards this end, CTA’s actions have included: building agribusinesses and strengthening value chains to support the transformation of agriculture to profitability; leveraging digital innovations by promoting ICTs and precision farming for smallholders; supporting farmer organisations and cooperatives to be more business-oriented and enhance market access; promoting youth entrepreneurship and employment through access to ICT innovations; and supporting women’s empowerment by boosting investment in women-owned agribusiness development.

Continued impact post-2020

In order to build the capacity of ACP countries to achieve sustainable development once the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement comes to an end in February 2020, CTA’s on-going projects are focusing on the current and future agricultural transformation agenda. The investments also reflect a major shift toward directly reaching large numbers of beneficiaries and demonstrating impact at scale, for example:

Forthcoming projects also look to further facilitate youth entrepreneurship and job creation, advance digitalisation and related value chain innovations, and promote climate-smart agriculture practices.

Each of these projects directly support farmers and other actors to be able to produce food for themselves, their families and their communities. Access to ICT innovations can help boost productivity, increase climate resilience and make agriculture more attractive for youth. By supporting and promoting innovations in technology at scale, we can advance food and nutrition security, prosperity, climate resilience, youth employment and gender equality.

Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN in 2050, signal a comprehensive and transformative agenda for sustainable development. In February 2019, the Brussels Briefing 54 – organised by CTA, the European Commission (DEVCO), the ACP Secretariat and Concord – brought together speakers and participants, from a range of sectors and organisations, to discuss progress towards SDG2 and what needs to be done to ensure this goal is achieved by 2030.

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