Agriculture corridors in Mozambique and Tanzania had not benefited the majority of population. Implementation of CAADP framework could help to ensure that smallholders benefit more, the authors suggest.
// Development corridors
Development corridors have a potential to target an increasingly wide array of policy challenges, with an increasing focus on agriculture. They aim to increase regional trade through better physical and soft infrastructures, improve markets for agricultural inputs and outputs, set out agricultural investment opportunities, engage with international investors, and promote the integration of small-scale producers into international value chains. Recent ECDPM study done by Bruce Byiers in collaboration with Francesco Rampa looks at the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) and Maputo Development corridors and their roles in addressing constraints to market integration for agricultural producers.
// Two sides of a coin
Consequences of corridor developments are extremely controvercial. On the one side, cross-border trade is increasingly improving, particularly for larger operators. This relates in part to corridor-related initiatives to improve both "hard" aspects such as infrastructures and "soft" aspects such as border and port management, often with the support of donors. On the other side, the majority of population, small-scale farmers, can not benefit from the corridor development. For example, Maputo development corridor led to vastly improved infrastructures, but at the same time it served political interests, the more powerful South African private sector and Mozambican elites, with little benefit for poor people and small-scale producers. SAGCOT Corridor had similar controversies: it atttracted international agribusinesses, but the process was also being driven by those powerful international agribusinesses and a majority of population was excluded.
// CAADP can make the change
CAADP can play a crucial role in ensuring that development corridors create additional opportunities and benefits for smallholders, for instance, by upgrading of feeder-roads and storage facilities, and linking them with larger infrastructure developments. Moreover, CAADP has a capacity to promote synergies between policies and investments for agriculture growth and corridors development, that are essential to develop necessary 'soft' infrastructure. Besides, regional commitment is cruicial for bringing transfrontier projects to a success. Otherwise there is a risk, that a country with a stronger ecomony would reap the benefits of the initiative.
Given the wide and growing interest in the corridor development approach, MDC and SAGCOT corridors could serve as an experimental site for informing and guiding future CAADP initiatives.