Request for Concept Notes (RFCN): Promotion of income generation, resilience, and employment opportunities for youth and women through small-scale processing units; poultry farming, and small ruminants; school feeding programs
Founded in 2006, AGRA is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs most of Africa’s people, all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.
AGRA is rolling out a new 5-year strategy to catalyze the Food System-led Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa to increase incomes and improve food security for 28 million farmers across 11 countries in West, East and Southern Africa. The new Strategic Plan sets out to catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where the private sector thrives, and smallholders are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food in an equitable and inclusive manner.
There is increasing acknowledgement that gender inequality and social exclusion of women, youth and rural poor continue to impede Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (IAT). State of the art evidence shows that agricultural development interventions can only be effective if they are intentional in their approaches towards gender equality and social inclusion (Quisumbing et al., 2020; Nyasimi and Huyer, 2017; Doss, 2016). Another critical component in inclusive agricultural transformation is participation by youth, a population which is rapidly growing and is expected to double to 830 million by 2050. A total of 12 million youth enters the employment market each year but only 25% are absorbed into formal jobs leaving large numbers either unemployed or underemployed (AfDB, 2016). AGRA’s approach to the youth is anchored on its inclusive agriculture transformation goal, driving broad-based agricultural transformation that will make agriculture more productive and profitable, thereby creating on-farm and off-farm opportunities. To attain the levels of scale and reach necessary to create fundamental change in youth employment in Africa, it is critical to come up with scalable solutions that reach a substantial proportion of youth – the resilience, and agriculture productivity present an opportunity in this regard.
Building on the gains AGRA has achieved over the past decade and a half and leveraging the learnings from our recent Impact Evaluation, AGRA intends to make focused and catalytic investments that contribute to inclusive agriculture and food systems transformation. AGRA’s 2030 Strategic framework directly draws on and contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development and is anchored in unlocking systemic barriers and building resilience and capabilities to catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems on the African continent.
To achieve its vision, mission and strategic objectives, AGRA will build on key assets, models and key lessons accruing from past strategic investments to deliver the following core objectives:
- Enhanced farmer resilience.
- Greater food security and nutrition.
- Increased (and more stable) production and yields.
- Increased farmer surplus, sales, and profits.
- Dignified, fulfilling agricultural work for youth.
- Increased revenues for women/youth-led SMEs and women/youth entrepreneurs.
To achieve the vision, mission, and objectives of the new Strategic Plan, AGRA has prioritized and organized its work around four interlinked business lines to catalyze agricultural transformation which include 1) Policy and State Capability; 2) Seed Systems.
3) Inclusive Markets and Trade; and 4) Sustainable Farming. The new strategy has also prioritized cross-cutting areas which are critical to ensuring that agricultural transformation is inclusive and reflective of broad food system needs (Youth Empowerment, Gender Inclusivity, Climate’ Nutrition). Intentional inclusivity is one of the cross-cutting areas which seeks to eliminate barriers to participation of women and youth for them to contribute to, and benefit from agricultural transformation.