Why good policy matters to good actions

Resources are meaningless if they are not managed properly. A good example is with any business: you can have the top people in your industry, but if they are not treated properly, given the necessary tools, have clients and so on, then their talent and abilitie are meaningless. This is also demonstrated in how we manage resources when discussing issues of global health.

Consider the issue at the heart of African development. As TimesLive reports:

Tony Nsanganira‚ the Minister of State in Charge of Agriculture for Rwanda‚ said that the African Union’s vision of an integrated‚ prosperous Africa simply is not possible without complete transformation of Africa’s agricultural landscape.

“While Africa holds 60% of the world’s arable land‚ it is still only contributing just 10% to agriculture globally‚” says Mr Nsanganira.

So what is the key? According to Nsanganira: “Innovation is the greatest catalyst of agricultural development and ultimately poverty reduction.”

Consider that disparity: holding 60% of the world’s arable land – that is, land where you can grow crops – but only contributing 10% in terms of global agriculture.

The question is why. Practical Action suggests it’s a combination of reasons: “the lack of access to land and resources; the degradation of natural resources; poor access to markets; low investment in agricultural research, training and extension services; the lack of private sector services to fill the vacuum left behind.”

Furthermore, the continent still deals with the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis, which with life reduction also reduces productive farming. Less productive farming means nations that suffer from a lack of access to the products of farming – continuing the cycle of poverty.

Farmers are figuring out ways to overcome this: Better, richer investors are finding their ways into Africa, as they realise the potential for growth in a growing market; agricultural finance lets farmers manage their finances in a way that still allows some degree of freedom; better health care services and information also helps create a more informed populace who can better negotiate their health in  ways that is either preventative or managed.

This means get nations that help themselves and the planet, by creating environments where the land thrives. It won’t be easy but hopefully, with the right responses and people, it will be possible.