In the course of the next few days, hundreds of delegates from around the world will arrive in Seychelles for the 2015 SACAU Annual Conference. The conference will be attended by a host of high-level government representatives, private sector stakeholders and international role-players, policymakers, manufacturers, farmers, retailers, financiers, development representatives and stakeholders working within African agriculture.
Agriculture in southern Africa has the potential to feed the world or to become the leading food provider on the continent. However this could remain a pipedream if the sector and governments do not actively address obstacles facing the sector. One of the key questions SACAU members and delegates need to address at the upcoming, Annual Conference to be held in Mahe, from the 25th to 26th May 2015 is, how best to maximise productivity without causing further degradation of natural resources caused by inefficient farming.
The conference will officially be opened by Mr Wallace Cosgrow, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture of Seychelles. Leading speakers (experts) on natural resources such as soils and water; forests and woodlands; rangelands; and fisheries have confirmed their attendance. Delegates will amongst others explore innovative and sustainable options for increasing agricultural productivity in the region, to ensure food security for its growing population.
SACAU members amongst others also need to look into what it would take to achieve agricultural productivity growth while ensuring the sustainability of resources – all this in the context of additional challenges posed by climate change. Some the issues delegates will grapple with are:
- What is the impact of predicted climatic changes for Southern Africa on soil and water resources and how will this affect productivity?
- What are the game-changing technological breakthroughs and innovative practices that can help farmers overcome their challenges?
- Given the critical need to increase production and productivity, what approaches can enable the region to aggressively adopt climate-smart farming?
Climate change will be integrated into the conference theme given its significant implications on how resources now need to be managed.