Key points

  1. CropLife Africa Middle East supports an African Green Transition that is a vital pathway to not just agricultural development but also socio-economic development, African (and global) trade development and the empowerment of local communities. This transition offers multiple opportunities for Africa to thrive and accelerate the path to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. CropLife Africa Middle East believes that the African Green Transition agenda needs to be uniquely tailored to, and supportive of, African needs. In agriculture this requires greater access to high-quality sustainable organic and synthetic inputs and innovation. Technology transfers resulting in more innovation are a key driver of Africa’s Green Transition.
  3. CropLife Africa Middle East believes that major trading partner green programmes, notably the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategies, should not undermine African countries’ actions and ambitions for inclusive and sustainable growth. There are generational opportunities to support a transition in agriculture across Africa that should not be lost.
  4. CropLife Africa Middle East calls on African policy-makers to urgently address the barriers to producing, supplying and trading goods within Africa. These barriers need to be removed as part of the African Continental Free Trade Area to further support the African Green Transition.
  5. CropLife Africa Middle East supports African countries ongoing work towards an African Green Transition agenda including within the African Union and in talks with the UN and with major partners including the EU.

Green transition in Africa

All 54 African countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 and the African Union’s development goals in its Agenda 2063, in 2013. In the last decade much effort has been invested in working towards building green economies across Africa.

Given many African countries reliance on agriculture for both trade and food/feed, this agenda goes far beyond just farmers and the environment. The Green Transition in Africa represents both challenges and opportunities across several areas: economic growth and social progress; sustainable and inclusive development; gender equality and youth empowerment; technology transfer; increased trade and unity within Africa and development and investment opportunities.

African Green Transition

African Green Transition is a “green growth model, including circular and blue economies; combatting climate change; protecting biodiversity and natural resources; ensuring food security and rural development as well as access to sustainable energy and developing transport solutions.” [EEAS Nov. 2021]

African countries contribute 3% of global carbon emissions. They face the most severe impacts of global climate change. Natural disasters like locust infestations, droughts and floods have displaced millions of people and massively disrupted socio-economic structures.

Access to innovations and technologies that can help improve resilience to the impact of climate change as well as helping reduce carbon emissions are needed. Removing barriers to trade in agriculture within Africa can also reduce emission by making it easier for global companies to produce and supply for Africa from within Africa.

The green transition can help fuel sustainable and inclusive growth for Africa. Africa has a large social and economic footprint in the continent and as such, can empower not only farmers, and the value chains that they belong to across Africa, but also the continent as a whole. The African green transition in agriculture needs to consider the following context in Africa:

  1.  It is one of the most food insecure parts of the world.1
  2. It is home to the world’s second largest rainforest, the Congo Rainforest. Achieving higher yields without that coming at the expense of forest land will require the use of high-quality inputs and good agronomic practices to help increase yields sustainably.
  3. Most farmers are smallholders and do not use modern technologies.2
  4. The average farm performs at approximately 40% of its potential.
  5.  Agriculture has a large share in GDP and employment.
  6.  It remains the continent the most impacted by climate change.

Technology can help African farmers deliver more with less and embed sustainable business development that in turn can drive more intra-regional agricultural trade (and decrease dependence on imports and simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions). For these opportunities to be realised, the African Green Transition needs to be driven by policies formulated based on the local context and realities. While a dialogue with global trading partners like the EU is important, the European Union’s Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy are formulated for the European continent based on their realities.

African Green Transition

“Against the 2021 targets of Agenda 2063 Africa as a whole is only 51% on track” [UN report February 2022]

Croplife Africa Middle East recommendations

  1.  Improved access to, and use of, yield increasing high-quality technologies must remain a priority so as to enable better use of existing farm land and avoid forest land being used for farming purposes.
  2. Steps need to be taken to enable the transition towards a circular economy so that plastics used for containers are kept in circulation in the economy for longer, helping cut carbon emissions and helping responsibly manage waste. The plant science industry globally and in Africa Middle East, has developed stewardship initiatives to responsibly manage the full life cycle of products, such as the empty container management programme. This has included recycling empty containers thus helping cut emissions and support the transition towards a circular economy by keeping resources in the economy for longer. Plastic takes 400 years to degrade and only around 11% is recycled. Recycled plastic has around 70% lower carbon footprint than virgin plastic.
  3. Tackling counterfeit and illegal products must remain a priority. Illicit plant protection products may contain unassessed, unapproved, or poorly manufactured ingredients, with potential to endanger human health and the environment including biodiversity, plus the potential to destroy crops, posing a risk to farmers’ livelihood and food security. As a partner of the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade, CropLife remains committed to working with authorities to stamp out counterfeit agrochemicals and pesticides.
  4. Removal of barriers to trade within Africa would make it easier to produce and supply in Africa from within Africa, hence helping cut the carbon footprint of agricultural inputs. The African Continental Free Trade Area offers potential in this regard. Within the AfCFTA, there is also the potential, for a new protocol on climate and sustainability, to ensure greater alignment between it and the AU’s African Green Stimulus Programme (AGSP) and Green Recovery Action Plan (GRAP), which includes the concept of “resilient agriculture” and already seek to support climate finance.3

Croplife Africa Middle East

CropLife Africa Middle East A.I.S.B.L. is a non-for-profit industry organization representing the leading global manufacturers of pesticides, seeds and biotechnology products in Africa and the Middle East. Together with more than 20 national associations, CropLife Africa Middle East is the voice and advocate for the plant science industry in its region and worldwide.

CropLife Africa Middle East is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and to the responsible use of plant science technologies in the region. We promote the understanding of the benefits of modern plant science solutions. We are convinced that these products and solutions, developed and distributed by our member companies, are indispensable to control weeds.

We believe that the professional and responsible use of these products improve the incomes and livelihoods of farmers and their families and has the potential to contribute decisively to the growth of rural and national economies, as well as promoting food security in the region.