|Reversing the Spiral - The Population, Agriculture, and Environment Nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa (WB, 1994, 320 p.)|
The above recommendations are broad and need to be adapted to
the special circumstances of each country. In some countries, these ideas are
already being pursued, with varying degrees of success.
· Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are pursuing macroeconomic and agricultural policy reform programs designed in part to improve the profitability of agriculture; this will stimulate the needed agricultural intensification. Other countries do not yet pursue policies that would make agriculture profitable. Also, many donor countries maintain a combination of import barriers and agricultural subsidies to assist their own farmers, and this harms African producers of these commodities. These policies need to be changed.
· An increasing number of countries in Sub-Saharam Africa are developing Environmental Action Plans. For these countries, implementation is the watchword. In the others, the process should be launched. Donor support should be intensified.
· Agricultural research and extension systems in a number of countries are slowly shifting to a greater focus on "sustainable" agricultural technology and responsiveness to varying farmer demand. Collaborating within SPAAR, countries in the Sahel and SADC regions are planning the improvement of their agricultural research systems. Others should follow suit, and donors should collaborate in implementing SPAAR'S "Frameworks for Action.''
· At least four Sub-Saharan African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe) have, with considerable effort, succeeded in bringing down fertility rates. Much more needs to be done here as in all SSA countries, but these four provide relatively successful models. Several other countries are developing promising population and family planning programs. Genuine and sustained political commitment will be essential. Donor support should be channeled through the ongoing African Population Action Plans.
Improved health programs to address the AIDS problem, including health education and the distribution of condoms, are starting up in several countries.
· The empowerment of local communities to manage development in each of the above areas is now beginning to be accepted in some countries; it requires much more effort.
· Weak and eroding land tenure security, inappropriate fuelwood pricing, and feeble rural infrastructure programs are major weak points almost everywhere.
· In many countries, major deficiencies remain to be addressed in rural health care and education (and particularly female education), rural infrastructure, participation of local communities in development efforts, forest and conservation policy, sound urbanization policy, and effective family planning programs.
Several countries are already pursuing many or the policies and approaches suggested here. They are capitalizing on the positive synergies between agricultural growth and productivity gains, environmental resource protection and reduction in human fertility rates and achieving measurable improvements in the welfare of rural people. Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mauritius are examples. They strongly suggest that the type of measures recommended here are likely to be effective. Others, such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda, are moving in the right direction.