Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness

Emmanuel Ayomide Praise
 


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Promoting Innovation Approach.

The agriculture sector continues to evolve based on shifting demand patterns, improved technology, integrating trade, and the market. Learning from the industrial sector, the Bank is exploring innovation systems approach to address the demands and forces that impact agriculture. The agriculture portfolio targets integrated programs that address science, private sector investment, the financial system, the policy and regulatory environment, and stakeholder participation. Commitments to agricultural research, extension, training and education components (AKIS) have increased from $230 million in FY04 to $282 million in FY05 to $499 million in FY06. 48 percent of this lending was towards agricultural research.

Re-engaging in water for agriculture.

Agriculture accounts for nearly 80 percent of global water use. To gain “more crop per drop, ” the Bank is proactively re-engaging in investments that target the policy, technical, and governance aspects of agricultural water. The Africa Action Plan identified managing water for agriculture as a priority. Investments that empower local user groups and promote public private partnerships are critical to improving performance in this subsector.

Emerging zoonoses – a global threat.

Animal-based diseases, such as avian flu and ‘mad cow’, continue to keep livestock management and animal health at the top of the development agenda. Twenty seven countries have received financing under the Bank’s $500 Million Global Program for Avian Influenza (GPAI) through January 2007, with 16 of these country projects being approved since July 2006. Effective compensation schemes to induce early reporting and culling are key to avian influenza control strategies. The Bank, FAO, and OIE released guidelines for such schemes to be managed by client countries and partner agencies in December 2006.

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