Data coordination has presented a challenge to Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) implementers for a long time. This is now more acute with the larger number of indicators in the new framework. CAADP aims to fight poverty and hunger through strengthening agricultural transformation which includes paying close attention to areas such as: investment in Agriculture, tripling Intra-African trade in Agricultural Commodities and Services, creating resilience to climate variability and mutual collaboration and accountability between private and public stakeholders for actions and results.
Participation and inclusiveness of different stakeholders, from formulation to implementation of development policies, has been greatly emphasized in post-2015 development frameworks and policies. An example, is in the paradigm shift from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where the objective is to ensure we leave no one behind, meaning that all the stakeholders are engaged especially those who are meant to primarily benefit from the goals. Just like many Post-2015 development frameworks, CAADP recognizes the importance of participation and inclusiveness in attaining the set targets. However, within the framework, the data required for monitoring and review is widely scattered between government departments making data coordination very crucial for monitoring of progress towards the targets.
The CAADP framework has also stipulated for high level of participation and inclusiveness in attaining the set targets to realize agricultural development and sustainability in Africa. One of the most important stakeholders in development has been the people who these policies are meant to be benefit. In this case, the importance of farmers has been emphasized and it is of great importance that policy makers are able to work closely with the farmers in the implementation of the development policies. It is however very important to note that, the implementation process starts with the availability of data. All the stakeholders have to know from which point the implementation process will begin. The farmers are crucial in this process because the extent to which they have a sense of ownership in the policies determines whether the objectives will be met, or not. This boils down to availability of information to farmers and especially in formats they can easily understand. Improving data coordination between ministries, departments and agencies can ensure the information they are presented with paints a complete picture. In addition, their own data and knowledge should also be taken into consideration and included in the policy making, monitoring and review processes.
The level of implementation of any data coordination action is an important aspect for the success of agriculture development as engraved in the CAADP. However, this does not receive the level of explicit mention or attention it should have in the various CAADP documents made available to stakeholders. The context within which agriculture strategies are being developed and implemented makes this an existential requirement and a critical success factor for the agenda.
A quick scan of a number of African countries reveals that the different data sets required in the framework fall under different ministries and departments in each African government. Different African countries have different configurations of ministries making it complicated when attempting to coordinate data. This complication is further exacerbated by bureaucratic processes that exist and support increased silos within governments. For example, in Kenya, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and that of Water and Irrigation are separate while in Tunisia there is one: Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries. Therefore when talking about water in agriculture in Kenya, there will be a need to coordinate data and information sharing between the two ministries as opposed to Tunisia where the coordination will fall under the same ministry.
Secondly, the CAADP framework emphasizes the need for greater participation of women and youth employment in agriculture. A look at how data would be coordinated in Kenya and Tunisia shows that data is also scattered in this case for Tunisia where there exist two ministries; Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Ministry of Women, Family and Children. Kenya on the other side has only the Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs.
Finally, on looking at the issue of women farmers and land ownership, data coordination is required between different ministries such as that of Land, Gender Issues, Agriculture and also that of Industrialization and Enterprise Development in Kenya. In Tunisia, this would be the Ministry of Development, Investment and International Co-operation. This is especially necessary in cases where data on women who get financial assistance to pursue farming or other activities through financial institutions such as cooperatives is required.
Even though the CAADP is an agricultural framework, data sets required to plan and monitor implementation and impact falls under various ministries such as Finance, Trade, Health, Transport and Communication, Youth and Gender Issues, Lands, Labor etc. The configuration of government differs between countries, meaning that the complexities of data coordination will differ between countries. The success of the coordination processes is crucial for the improved implementation of CAADP. In the near term, the challenge it presents will be evident as countries prepare the reports that will be presented by their heads of state and government at the first Biennial Review in January 2018.
Empowerment of farmers especially the women who make up for the majority of those engaged in farming will go a long way in creating sustainable agricultural practices to fight hunger and poverty. However, availability of data, coordination between different departments for data availability and active participation and inclusiveness will determine how fast or slow the implementation of these policies will be.
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