Public spending on agriculture in Africa is critical to promoting economic growth and the reduction of poverty. GDP growth originating in agriculture is much more effective in reducing poverty than growth in other sectors. Some studies indicate that GDP growth from agriculture is five times more effective in developing countries overall, and in sub-Saharan Africa, up to 11 times more effective. Public investment in agriculture, alongside other investments, can also play a key role in reducing hunger. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) notes that hunger is more prevalent in countries where public agricultural expenditure per worker is lower.
There is also a growing view, strongly shared by ActionAid, that increased public investment needs to be made in the world’s smallholder farmers. Supporting the world’s 500 million small farmers - who produce most of the food in developing countries, but who also constitute the most undernourished people in the world - represents the single biggest opportunity to reduce hunger and increase global food security. It is also essential to adapt to climate change, since small farmers manage around 80 per cent of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.