The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)


The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) have important implications for small scale farmers in the region. This article provides a brief overview of this policy – how it will be implemented and its agenda


CAADP is an agricultural framework for the whole of Africa. It was adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2003. In 2010 the AU established the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) to  coordinate and administer CAADP.

CAADP provides an approach and a set of principles to guide, plan, and design policies and reforms of the agricultural sector. It wants to transform African agriculture from subsistence to a business enterprise through market-led growth and increased productivity. It promises pro-poor agricultural development strategies but as we will discuss below we do not believe that CAADP, as it stands at present, is pro-poor.

The overall goal of CAADP is to “help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth  through agriculture-led development, which eliminates hunger, reduces poverty and food insecurity and enables expansion of exports”. CAADP has 4 basic pillars (Box 1) and African governments made two key commitments (Box 2).


CAADP is to be implemented throughout the African continent. Each economic region (e.g.SADC, EAC, ECOWAS, COMESA, CEN-SAD) and each country is supposed to plan, and design reforms of the agricultural sector and policies according to CAADP guidelines.

Where is CAADP implemented?


Modernise African agriculture:

CAADP wants to do this through the “adoption of modern or improved technologies” associated with the Green Revolution. These “new technologies” include the use of new external inputs such as hybrid seeds, genetically modified (GM) seeds and associated agrochemicals (fertilisers and pesticides). These technologies are protected by patents and are very expensive.

Agriculture is to lead economic growth in Africa:

This is to be done through commercialisation and trade of raw materials and value added products, oriented towards export.

PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships):

CAADP is to be implemented through PPPs between the state, the private sector, development “donors” and charitable institutions (e.g. the Rockefeller and the Bill Gates Foundations; see also Box 3). The private partners promise Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), if they get “best returns” and “risks reduction” on their investments. To attract FDIs African states have to change current laws and create new institutions, policies and laws to protect the interests of investors. For example: African governments have to harmonise seed laws and adopt policies that make it easier for financial investors to circulate across regions and repatriate their profits.

“Development corridors”:

To facilitate the PPPs CAADP proposes that agriculture be integrated into “development corridors”. These corridors are to be linked to international agricultural “value chains” producing exportable produce.

Smallholder famers will be linked to the “value chains” through “outgrower schemes” and “contract farming”. They will be able to access ‘loans and financing’ only if they have legally binding production contracts. These loans and financing will not be in cash, but in the form of industrial inputs (fertilisers, pesticides and seeds) supplied by the contractors.

PIDA (Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa):

In 2010 CAADP launched the PIDA and guides the policies and investment priorities between 2011 and 2030. It is to be funded by the European Union, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Fund for Water and NEPAD. Four key sectors have been identified: water, energy, transport and ICT (information and communication technologies).

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