Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries
This briefing (PDF), by CTA is part of the Brussels Briefings and focuses on agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries. Fragility results from the complex interplay of weak societal institutions confronted with internal and external stresses. The relationship between fragility and agriculture is a complex one. Agriculture systems can suffer significantly because of fragility, whilst also contributing to the conditions for a fragility to emerge and persist. Agriculture plays an important contribution towards economies of fragile countries. The role of agriculture and food has a particular resonance in fragile and conflict states. Smallholder farming can form the basis of peace-building. By taking a sustainable development approach to food and nutrition security, reconstructing livelihoods of conflict and disaster affected communities is possible. As fragility increases, so does the reliance on agriculture as a source of livelihood and security. Working effectively in fragile states requires a long-term, context-specific approach. Agriculture must play a central part in boosting fragile countries’ economies and alleviating poverty. Investing more in agriculture would ensure moving from emergency to resilience and long-term development. There is a need to mitigate risks to the population by investing in local capacities for early warning, preparedness and response. Smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable. Access to inputs and knowledge, ICTs to quickly share information and extension/advisory services will contribute to the resilience of agriculture livelihoods. Reducing the root causes of vulnerabilities of individuals and communities with livelihoods depending on crop, livestock, fish, trees and other renewable resources is fundamental. Finally, national ownership and international commitment are needed to reduce fragility, fragile states have untapped opportunities to pursue development. Donor coordination remains necessary since very often these lessons are simply not learned or shared across countries and among donors.