The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has announced a five-year project that seeks to increase incomes of smallholder farmers through the creation of an enabling policy environment in Africa. Dubbed Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA), the initiative will identify, prioritize and reform specific agricultural policies and regulations that currently deter or limit private investment in small- and medium-sized agribusinesses operating in smallholder agricultural value chains.
Over a period of five years, AGRA aims to motivate at least 25 significant policy or regulatory reforms in selected countries, leading to measurable increases in private sector investment in local agribusinesses. The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, is expected to increase the number of smallholder farmers accessing improved technologies supplied by agribusinesses operating in local staple food value chains. It will also help them access stable, predictable income-generating market opportunities. This enhanced access to input and output markets is in turn expected to lead to increased smallholder productivity and incomes, and reduced poverty for smallholder farm-dependent families.
“We are very excited about this new initiative,” says AGRA President Ms. Jane Karuku. “It will help African Governments unlock agricultural potential in their countries by supporting their efforts to develop progressive agricultural policies that will attract increased private investment in smallholder agricultural value chains. The initiative aims reform retrogressive agricultural regulations that deter rather than encourage such investment”.
“The MIRA project will provide African Governments with access to high quality local and international technical assistance for identifying, prioritizing and reforming specific agricultural regulations,” says Dr. Steven Were Omamo, AGRA’s Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Current regulations often discourage private investment in small- and medium-sized agribusinesses that serve the needs of smallholder farmers.
The project will help build the capacity of African Government leaders and analysts to make better-informed, economically-robust assessments and decisions about which regulations need to be reformed in order to facilitate increased private investment in smallholder value chains. Among the pillars of MIRA include strengthening African governments' demand for regulatory reforms, by supporting efforts to identify and assess regulations that unintentionally limit private sector investment in smallholder value chains, support African governments’ efforts to reform regulations that limit private sector investment in smallholder value chains, promoting reformed regulations to local and international private sector investors, in order to raise awareness about improved agribusiness-enabling environments in Africa and enhancing the capacity and commitment of African Governments to continuously review, assess and reform regulations that limit private sector investment in smallholder value chains.
At the end of the project, the project hopes to create reformed agricultural policies and regulations creating more conducive environments for private sector investment in local agribusinesses operating smallholder value chains in five countries, increasing private sector investment in the “throughput capacity” of existing and new local agribusinesses and introducing at least 25 significant policy or regulatory reforms that induce measurable increases in private sector investment in local agribusinesses operating in smallholder agrifood value chains.