Briefing on CTA's key role in the ACP-EU partnership

The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has been providing invaluable services to the agricultural and rural development community in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) for over 30 years. As an institution established under the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, CTA works to shape the next generation of farmers and contribute to the transformation of agriculture in the ACP by providing access to technology, fostering innovation, and sharing actionable knowledge.

CTA’s refreshed 2018-2020 strategy identifies three priorities: 

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

CTA is committed to building ACP’s capacity to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the post-Cotonou era. At the recent EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, CTA was able to showcase its work on the digitalisation of agriculture and youth employment. It is clear from the Summit that CTA responds directly to the two top priorities agreed by the Africa Union and the European Union, namely economic opportunities for youth and addressing the root causes of irregular migration. CTA has also played a key role in forging collaboration across the ACP and has been a leader in South-South cooperation.

A solid reputation and a vast network

Across the ACP, CTA is renowned for its support for and strong partnership with major stakeholders in agricultural development thanks to its training and capacity building activities, publishing and dissemination services, knowledge exchange platforms, policy forums and talent competitions. CTA also provides seed funding, technical assistance, access to ICT innovations, access to innovative financing facilities, partnership services particularly with the private sector, and brokering facilities. 

CTA’s contribution to SDGs

CTA’s work directly contributes to a significant number of SDGs, in particular:

  • SDG1 - No poverty
  • SDG2 - Food security 
  • SDG8 - Employment 
  • SDG13 - Climate action

Forging collaboration across the ACP

Over the last five years, close to 15,000 individuals across ACP countries have participated in various training courses, seminars and conferences organised by CTA. Similarly, more than 600,000 technical publications are downloaded annually from CTA’s online publishing database, which is the most extensive and freely available source of agricultural information for ACP users. In addition, CTA distributes around 100,000 print publications, largely to agricultural extension workers, educational institutions and farmers who are constrained by limited Internet access to download e-publications.

602,000 publications downloaded from CTA’s website in 2017

100,000 copies of publications distributed to farmers, extension agents & education & training centres

CTA’s funding

CTA’s funding comes primarily from the European Development Fund. In recent years, the Centre has also received funding from other sources for specific projects, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of the Netherlands. 

CTA’s important role has been highlighted in its external evaluations, including the last comprehensive institutional evaluation commissioned by the European Commission and carried out in 2015, which found that CTA is highly relevant to the Cotonou Agreement, ACP regional and continental policies, as well as to EU policies, and that CTA demonstrated increasing efficiency and effectiveness as an organisation. More specifically, feedback from partner organisations in the ACP showed that CTA’s services have led to:

  • improved skills, knowledge and awareness among farmers;
  • greater use of ICT;
  • collaboration with smallholder farmers;
  • access to markets: income generation
  • employment.

The evaluation made a strong case for increasing CTA’s capability to deliver large scale and more targeted interventions with its partners.

In step with global and regional policies      

In addition to the SDGs, CTA’s work responds to the Paris Climate Agreement and regional priorities on food and nutrition security across the ACP. It contributes directly to Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda as stipulated in the 2014 Malabo Declaration, the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), the regional policies for food and nutrition security, and resilience to climate change in the Caribbean and the Pacific. CTA also operates within the context of the African Youth Charter, promoting youth employment and skills development, particularly for girls and young women. Moreover, CTA’s interventions support the priorities of the EU-Africa partnership on mobilising investment and skills development for youth and women.   

Expanding its reach

Many of CTA’s on-going investments in inclusive agricultural value chains highlight the relevance of the Centre to the ACP’s current and future agricultural transformation agenda, for example: 

  • enhancing market response to resilience in livestock value chains in Eastern Africa:reach 100,000 pastoralists;
  • expanding climate-smart agriculture solutions for cereal and livestock farmers in Southern Africa: reach 100,000 farmers;
  • ICT for agriculture enabled information services: reach 150,000 farmers;
  • drones for African agriculture and agribusiness;
  • promoting youth entrepreneurship and job creation in West Africa’s rice value chain:reach 15,000 rural youth, 100 SMEs, 720 new jobs;
  • strengthening women’s agribusiness enterprises: reach 25,000 women, 5000 women-owned agribusinesses;
  • Digitalisation for agriculture to transform smallholder agriculture:reach 150,000 farmers;
  • promoting policies that link agriculture and tourism, increase investment, and lead to regulatory changes benefiting the private sector in 12 Small Island Developing States:reach 250,000 beneficiaries;
  • leveraging the development of local food crops and fisheries’ value chains for improved nutrition and sustainable food systems in the Pacific Islands: reach 40,000 farmers.

In addition, forthcoming projects include:

  • expanding youth employment in Kenya with IFAD co-financing;
  • scaling up climate-smart agriculture technologies and innovations across Africa;
  • cooperative agribusiness development for better nutrition in West Africa with the Ashoka network of entrepreneurs.

These projects build on CTA’s long track record of partnership building with beneficiaries across Africa. They reflect a major shift toward directly reaching large numbers of beneficiaries and demonstrating impact on a large scale.  

Continued impact post-2020

As the Cotonou agreement comes to an end in February 2020, the impact and continuity of CTA’s work is at stake.

As a joint ACP – EU institution, CTA has built unique partnerships with ACP national and regional bodies over the last three decades. 

It is crucial that CTA’s work continues beyond 2020 so that the Centre can make a significant contribution to the SDGs and the agricultural transformation agenda of Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific countries. In particular; CTA’s relevant work of facilitating youth entrepreneurship and job creation, advancing digitalisation and related value chain innovations, promoting climate-smart agriculture practices must be continued. 

In recent years, CTA has taken concrete measures to make its work much more targeted and impactful.

Now, more than ever, continued support to CTA is essential to creating opportunities for the youth, transforming rural economies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals across the ACP.