M&E

M&E system to track impact of SADC-EU EPA

M&EAn independent consultant company has been contracted to produce a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system following the signing of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between six SADC Member States and the European Union (EU). Six SADC Member States (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland) signed the EPA with the EU in June 2016.

This agreement, commonly referred to as the SADC-EU EPA, entered into force on October 10, 2016.  Another SADC Member State, Angola, is an observer and has an option to join the Agreement in future. Under the SADC EPA, the EU grants its SADC counterparts free access to its market. However, the SADC EPA states do not have to respond with the same level of market opening as they can keep tariffs on products that are sensitive to international competition.

The EPA also contains a large number of “safeguards”, which SADC EPA countries can use in case imports from the EU increase to a level where they threaten to disrupt domestic production. The agreement covers trade mainly in agriculture and fisheries, including wine, sugar, fisheries’ products, flowers and canned fruits. Among a number of provisions, the agreement also contains a chapter on sustainable development, and promotes regional integration and cooperation among SADC EPA states, notably by enabling regional value chains through flexible Rules of Origin.

With the support of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) under its programme titled, “Supporting the sustainability aspects in the implementation of the EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)”, consulting company Imani Development has been engaged to assist in the design of an M&E system of the agreement.

This is a requirement stipulated under Article 4. The design process began with a one-day consultative meeting, on December 11, 2017, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The objective of the meeting was to solicit inputs from stakeholders to guide the design of an M&E facility that would assist in tracking the operationalisation and impact of the agreement.

Participants included representatives of the EU, GIZ, SADC Secretariat, private sector, civil society and non-state actors (including SACAU), and SADC EPA member states. The meeting commended the participation and contribution of civil society in the design process and noted that CSOs play a vital role in monitoring the impact of trade initiatives on socio-economic development and advocating for delivery of benefits across all stakeholders, particularly the most vulnerable groups.

However, it also noted the need to harmonise inputs from EU and SADC based civil society and non-state actors. This is one of the roles the consultant is expected to play as part of the M&E design process. To better understand the M&E development process, participants discussed possible indicators to track developments under a number of areas of cooperation, including; trade and sustainable development, trade and development cooperation, trade in goods, and trade defence. From these discussions, it was agreed that M&E activities under the agreement should not be restricted at the regional level as the impact is expected at national level.

SADC EPA member states, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, are expected to identify and agree on appropriate context-specific indicators that can reveal whether commitments under the agreement are being adhered to. It was also agreed that selected indicators should be aligned with current global, regional and national initiatives. From this meeting, the consultant is expected to produce an inception report by January 12, 2018, consult with relevant regional and national stakeholders, design an M&E system and present an interim report by the beginning of March 2018. A final report, which should incorporate inputs from all stakeholders is expected by March 30, 2018.

Cop23

Cop23 commitment for Agriculture

Cop23The UN Climate Change Conference of Parties held its twenty-third instalment in Germany from 6th to 17th November where the parties adopted the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. This agreement requests two United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) technical bodies to work jointly in addressing issues related to agriculture.

The agreement marks progress for UNFCCC agricultural agreements which have dragged on for more than six years since the 2011 resolution to exchange views. It adds implementation as an important aspect of the work of the convention. A review of the work done by the subsidiary bodies will be done at the next summit in 2020.

The two bodies, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, will now work with bodies constituted under the convention and will pay specific consideration to the vulnerabilities of agriculture to climate change and approaches to addressing food security.

Parties now have an opportunity to make inputs on implementation modalities, devising methods for adaptation and resilience, improving nutrient and soil use, livestock management and the socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change in preparation for the next session of subsidiary bodies to be held in April-May 2018.

COP23 also committed itself to giving development capital amounting to USD 10 billion by 2025 for farmers in the developing world through the Sustainable Finance Facilities programme, a collaboration between various stakeholders including companies, investors, development sector partners, and civil society organisations.

The climate smart agriculture programme adopted as part of the summit’s outcomes is aimed at assisting women farmers to enhance food security and nutrition and to lessen the impact of adverse climate activity events on their businesses. The initiative targets the use of Information Communications Technology to leverage women’s access to assets in the agricultural sector in the Sahel region – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

Fhumulani Mashau, SACAU’s project officer, at a session themed Agriculture Advantage: Scaling up private sector climate actions in agriculture.

Fhumulani Mashau, SACAU’s project officer, at a session themed Agriculture Advantage: Scaling up private sector climate actions in agriculture.

Capture

SNAU members share progress and challenges facing farmers

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Leaders of the Swaziland National Agricultural Union (SNAU), drawn from seven member organisations, met in Mbabane, Swaziland, from the November 28-29, 2017 to share experiences in the implementation of specific programmes in their organisations.

This was part of the Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP). They also reviewed the status of implementation of their five-year strategy which is coming to an end in 2018, and conducted self-assessments of their respective organisations.

Outlining progress made, SNAU Executive Director, Mr Lwazi Mamba, indicated that they registered success in the implementation of some strategic areas and that they have succeeded in strengthening the structures of the organisation.

Mr Mamba highlighted that more work is needed in mobilising resources for implementation of activities and sustainability of the organisation.

SNAU, which was established in 2007, now has 8,500 individual members. It was suggested that the union could leverage these numbers for resource mobilisation.

Delegates heard from some regional structures of SNAU that membership mobilisation, which is key for increasing the number of members, was hampered by the approach that some nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) deploy in supporting farmers. It was reported that farmers are usually provided with handouts, and they expect the same from SNAU, which is outside SNAU’s mandate.

 The work of some NGOs such as World Vision and Techno Serve, with whom SNAU collaborate in most cases, was commended.  Concerns were raised regarding the detrimental effects of some taxation policies on the growth of the agricultural sector as well as delays in coming up with legislation on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The SNAU leadership will continue to engage with relevant government ministries to address these issues. Lastly, delegates discussed the challenges they are facing in marketing their products, which they said was greatly affecting their returns. Some have not been able to get fair markets while others have not made substantive profits. Members were advised to conduct thorough market research before engaging in any business ventures.

Mr  Ishmael Sunga of SACAU.              SOURCE: CCAFS’s Flickr...

Raising the voice of farmers at COP23

Mr  Ishmael Sunga of SACAU.              SOURCE: CCAFS’s Flickr...

Mr Ishmael Sunga of SACAU. SOURCE: CCAFS’s Flickr.

The diverse needs of farmers must be taken into account when dealing with climate change. This was one of the messages SACAU took to COP23 in Bonn, Germany, in November during their participation in side events. SACAU spoke at two events on Agriculture Advantage which was an initiative and collaborative effort between different organisations with the same mission: to transform agricultural development in the face of climate change.

SACAU was also part of these organisations which were led by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Mr Ishmael Sunga, CEO of SACAU, spoke about the farmerbased approach to climate action in agriculture at a closing session of this side event which called on countries, international organisations and businesses to take cognisance of the advantage offered by climate investments in agriculture, and urged stakeholders to come together for the transformation required within the sector.

This event was based on previous sessions which articulated the different dimensions of climate actions in agriculture. In his remarks, Mr Sunga stressed the importance of understanding farmers and their needs. “It’s wrong to think farmers are all the same. If projects are designed for farmers as a homogeneous group and they fail, don’t blame the farmer, blame yourself”, said Mr Sunga. “If we don’t invest time and money and resources in studying the basic things, we might not get anywhere. It’s not exciting but it might re-define what is exciting,” he added.

He highlighted the need to look at the farmer in his totality in the design of services and products for farmers. One such example is the bundling of agricultural insurance with other products that are essential for a farmer, which one of SACAU members is already implementing. Mr Sunga concluded by calling on stakeholders to get farmers’ inputs in designs of products and programmes. “Let it come from farmers themselves, and let us have the basic infrastructure to enable things to happen,” he said. Another side event in which SACAU participated was around scaling up private sector climate actions in agriculture.

Mr Sunga concluded by calling on stakeholders to get farmers’ inputs in designs of products and programmes. “Let it come from farmers themselves, and let us have the basic infrastructure to enable things to happen,” he said. Another side event in which SACAU participated was around scaling up private sector climate actions in agriculture.

This event sought to understand the role which the private sector can play to achieve goals set out within Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by countries and private sector fora, building on the experience from private sector businesses, industry bodies and international financial institutions.

Fhumulani

At this event, SACAU’s Project Officer, Ms Fhumulani Mashau, said there is a need for joining hands by the public and private sectors for investments in the agricultural sector’s response to climate change. Ms Mashau said there is a need for resources to absorb the shocks that climate change inflicts on small-scale farmers. She also said that farmers have important responsibilities too.

“Farmers themselves also have the responsibility to proactively assert themselves to get involved
in the design and implementation where they have an interest in climate action. Again, we’d also like to see the private sector to be obliged to consult with the farming community also in the design and implementation of climate action. We can’t do that without talking to each other,” she said.

Recognising the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) models which can empower farmers in their decision making, while also increasing their resilience to climate shocks, she stressed the importance public private partnerships in infrastructural investments.

“Massive expansion of ICT network/ connectivity infrastructure to cover all farming areas where the majority of farmers located are required,” she said. Reducing the cost of data and insurance premiums could also result in increased uptake of ICT and other solutions to help farmers better respond to climate shocks.

 

 

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SADC Member States ready for the fall armyworm in the 2017/2018 season

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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organised a meeting for Member States (MS) and stakeholders to discuss the state of preparedness to combat the fall armyworm (FAW) in the coming agricultural season.

Thirteen (13) MSs and other stakeholders such as CABI, CARDESA, ICIPE, CIMMYT, ICRISAT, IITA, University of Zimbabwe, World Vision and SACAU were represented.

It was clear from the discussion that the FAW caught most of the stakeholders unprepared in the last season. Considering that the FAW attacks mostly maize which is an “emotive crop” in the region, some countries panicked in the face of the outbreak. Farmers also resorted to massive and unprecedented use of different types of pesticides, some of which were not safe for humans and the environment.

The region now has an early warning system that will enable MSs to effectively identify, monitor and asses the risks associated with FAW and deliver a regional based integrated and timely early warning. Capacity development support is being provided by various stakeholders to national governments and institutions as well as at regional level to plan for data

collection and analyse the impact of FAW at household, national and regional levels. Government plant protection and extension staff from the entire region have been trained on FAW response and its management. The FAO Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa noted that the capacities of Southern African countries, communities and key stakeholders to implement prevention and mitigation and good agricultural practices through Integrated Production and Pest Management to reduce impact of FAW and guide the use of pesticides have generally improved.

 Most farmers and other stakeholders are becoming more aware on the FAW threat. Action and contingency plans have been developed, and communication products about the threat disseminated through various channels. FAO and other stakeholders will continue to support training of trainers and farmers and awareness raising in order not to lose the momentum already gained.

Some countries such as Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe have finalised assessing the impact of the FAW.  However, quantified data on affected hectarage and production losses was limited due to inadequate appropriate assessment tools, coupled with other factors. To this end, FAO provided countries with a standardised methodology for impact assessment, and facilitated the development of a common framework for the region to address the impact as a block since the FAW does not respect regional boundaries.

Gift

Meet November/December’s Young Agripreneur Ambassador, Gift Mafuleka

Gift

Gift Mafuleka is a commercial farmer with 15 years’ experience in commercial grain production and contract farming. Born and bred in the sugarcane producing area on the north-eastern coast of South Africa (SA), Gift is now farming on 800 ha in Gauteng Province.

He started farming in 2009 to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a commercial farmer. Prior to farming, he worked as a Crop Manager for one of the leading multi-national frozen vegetable processing companies for 4 years.

Before that, he worked for the Agricultural Research Council – Grain Crop Institute (ARC-GCI) as a Research Technician on a grain sorghum program. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture (Crop Production) from Tshwane University of Technology, SA.

In 2012, Gift registered Mphiwe Agriculture Group (Pty) Ltd which focuses on contract farming, agricultural development projects and agricultural services. The company has grown from being a small farming enterprise to becoming a recognised player in areas in which it operates.

He continuously upgrades his knowledge by studying and attending various events on agriculture. He obtained two certificates on management and leadership development from the University of South Africa (Unisa) School of Business Leadership and University of Free State Business College.

He also participates in various agricultural forums and groups in the African continent to contribute and share experiences, expand his networks, broaden his knowledge and gain exposure to many things that an entrepreneur needs to be re-energised, more inspired and wholly developed.

This is not only for his own gain but for passing on to every young person that he mentors and inspires. The success that Gift has achieved has not gone unnoticed as attested by the recognition he has received from various stakeholders in the agricultural industry in his country.

Some of the awards he received were the National New Harvest (Emerging Farmer) of the Year in 2011 organised by Toyota SA; Young Farmer of the Year from the Gauteng Provincial Department of Agriculture in 2013, and the National Young Agricultural Entrepreneur of the Year from the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2014.

Gift has also served in two of the biggest agricultural commodity associations in SA. He has been elected by fellow emerging commercial farmers to serve in the Board of Directors of Potatoes South Africa (PSA) and in the Executive Management of Grain SA.

SACAU_Pic_CEO_Letter

CEO’s Letter

SACAU_Pic_CEO_Letter                                                     By Ishmael Sunga

This has, once again, been a hectic year, but it has also been satisfying in many respects.  It has been a good year for agriculture for southern Africa, bringing better fortunes for farmers. This good fortune should be seen against the background of a devastating drought that ravaged the region in 2016.

The threat of the fall armyworm was also not as devastating as we had initially feared.  It has been a good year for agriculture for southern Africa, bringing better fortunes for farmers. This good fortune should be seen against the background of a devastating drought that ravaged the region in 2016. The threat of the fall armyworm was also not as devastating as we had initially feared.

The SACAU Secretariat was kept busy on all fronts. On the organisational front, we continued to comply with the corporate governance requirements, including four board meetings which were held during the year and our Annual General Meeting (AGM) which we held in May.

The AGM was preceded by our traditional Annual Conference. This year our conference was a two-in-one with the first part themed tenure security and agricultural transformation in the smallholder sector and the second half focusing on skilling for the future of agriculture.

 We also made significant progress towards the creation of an agri-agency unit which is expected to be operational by mid-2018.

On the operational front, we strengthened implementation of ongoing projects, started new ones and concluded two projects. The management of climate risk, including weather based insurance, the development of a new generation of farmers and farmers organisations as well as digital technology are some of the work areas that we are involved in.

Our initiatives include the formulation of a comprehensive young agripreneurs development programme and the conceptualisation of a competency development programme for the 21st century farmer. We continued to fly the SACAU flag high, and our presence was felt at fora such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan and COP 23 in Bonn.

 In addition, we were able to attend key meetings and events hosted by the AUC, NEPAD, SADC, COMESA, CTA, EU and others.  Finally, on behalf of the SACAU Board, the Secretariat and, indeed, on my own behalf, I wish to take this opportunity to thank our members and all stakeholders for their support and cooperation. We look forward to being of service to our members, and to valued partnerships and collaboration with other stakeholders in the coming year. Wishing you all a joyous festive season and prosperous New Year and agricultural season.

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SACAU participates in Access to Seeds Index Expert Review Committee for Eastern and Southern Africa

SACAU_story 7

SACAU participated in the Access to Seeds Index Expert Review Committee for Eastern and Southern Africa which met in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 12th October 2017. The Index, which is published by the Access to Seeds Foundation, evaluates and compares seed companies according to their efforts to improve access to quality seeds of improved varieties for smallholder farmers.

The Committee evaluated the first Index which was published in February 2016 and reviewed the draft methodology for the second Index which will be published at the end of 2018 or early 2019. Amongst others, the Committee considered the companies list which was updated through a landscaping study for Eastern and Southern Africa whose outcomes will inform the methodology and the scope, type of information needed from companies, indicators and other regional issues and challenges to address.

Data collection for the index itself will be done through questionnaires answered by companies themselves. On this, it was observed that companies were initially very sceptical to the Index but are now open to participating. This is a positive development since the amount of information available on companies affects their ranking.Other matters raised/proposed for inclusion in questionnaires were around the need to establish membership of companies to seed associations, more information on varieties offered, quality aspects of the seed varieties, promotion activities and affordability.

Expert Review Committees play a key role in validating the methodology and inputs from regional committees that are taken to the global Committee. Thus, these are extremely useful for providing advisory input to the development of the Index. Outcomes of this meeting will thus also be integrated into the methodology together with inputs from the other regions.