Structural Transformation and Gender Rights in African Agriculture: What Pathways to Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Food Security?

This paper brings up for policy discussion, some of the threats to Africa’s food sovereignty, gender rights and food security, in the process of agrarian transformation. The key questions are: What threats does structural transformation pose to the sovereign rights of countries as well as to gender rights and inclusive growth in Africa’s agriculture? What are the likely outcomes of recent policy changes with respect to agricultural growth and transformation on small farmers especially with focus on land rights and corporatization of land (land-grabbing)? How can these threats be turned into opportunities for rural women such that sustainable
agrarian growth as well as food security is achieved? We raise and discuss pertinent issues to seek answers to these questions in the body of the paper. The implicit hypotheses of this discussion paper is that current pathways to structural transformation (ST) may appear to pose more threats than opportunities for food security and the rights of small women farmers and inter alia, for sustainable food security in agrarian African countries. The reviews and analyses have tried to demonstrate that the dominant policy and conceptual frameworks driving envisaged changes in agricultural productivity and food security are contradicted by the actual strategies driving structural transformation and global competitiveness. Food security frameworks are either weak and inadequate or poorly understood, while food sovereignty principles are blatantly absent within these policy frameworks, especially the extent that these strategies put the necessary attention on women farmers as food producers. Development policies and compacts that address poverty are not viewed as determinants of food security and pathways to future economic possibilities, rather as separate social and political contracts. Therefore, positive trends in the former have no significant effect on the latter. We suggest a number of conceptual and policy fusions that could ensure concomitant achievement of the core goals.

Akanji, B. O. (2013). Structural transformation and gender rights in African agriculture: what pathways to food sovereignty and sustainable food security. In Food sovereignty: A critical dialogue international conference at Yale University, New Haven, CT. Retrieved from Transnational Institute: http://www. tni. org/briefing/structural-transformation-and-gender-rights-african-agriculture.
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