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National farmers’ organisations share SFOAP implementation progress

SACAUstory3Visiting team of representatives of NFOs at the piggery cooperative in Shiselweni, Swaziland

Five national farmers’ organisations (NFOs) namely Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT); Coalition Paysanne de Madagascar (CPM), Lesotho National Farmers’ Union (LENAFU), Seychelles Farmers’ Association (SEYFA) and Swaziland National Agricultural Union (SNAU) met with the IFAD supervision mission from 21st to 25th October 2017 in Swaziland. The meeting, which was held at Lugogo Sun in Ezulwini, provided an opportunity for the NFOs to share achievements made under Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) over the period of one year. In addition, NFOs shared cases and experiences arising from implementation of the project. A visit to one of the cooperatives supported by the project was also made. From the reports received from NFOs, it was clear that the project is making positive contributions to the development of the agriculture sector in the countries where it is implemented.

In Swaziland, among others, the project has enabled SNAU to facilitate the establishment and registration of a multi-purpose cooperative that will benefit farmers regarding a number of aspects, including provision of farm inputs at a relatively low price. The cooperative will be able to aggregate inputs demand from farmers and negotiate for better prices with suppliers. The savings that will be made per unit cost through bulk purchasing will trickle down to individual farmers. The arrangement will also reduce transportation cost of the inputs to various parts of the country. This will also contribute towards reduction of production costs as transportation is one of contributors to high input cost.

In Lesotho, LENAFU is in the process of reviewing their constitution which will better guide the operations of the union, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lesotho Post Bank for the provision of financial products to farmers. Currently, the bank has no products offered to farmers and it is expected that through the MoU it will be able to come up with special products that will benefit farmers. The Agriculture Council of Tanzania is in the process of organising a business-to-business conference for farmers and stakeholders in the livestock industry. The intention is to enable the stakeholders to meet with farmers and share the type of services they offer and provide farmers with an opportunity to engage with captains in the livestock industry. It is expected that farmers will get business deals for their products as well as information regarding livestock in the country. Government representatives will also be invited for them to understand some of the policy and technical bottlenecks farmers and other players in the livestock industry are facing.

CPM on the other hand reported that they embarked on a process of restructuring their organisation to effectively respond to the needs of farmers. They engaged a consultant who conducted an organisational audit that recommended that the organisation be restructured from the local level by forming commoditybased structures at the base. These local structures will form communal farmers’ organisations, which will subsequently form regional organisations, who in turn will affiliate to CPM at national level. The thinking behind this restructuring is to reinforce the localised institutions to work more effectively. On their part, the IFAD supervision team commended the NFOs for the achievements made and urged them to increase their effort in the implementation of activities so that they complete the project in time.

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CSA partners collaborate on promoting practices and technologies

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) current projections suggest that in the next 30 years, food production will have to increase by at least 70% to meet the demands of the world’s growing population. However, this may not be easy to accomplish, given the extensive impact of climate change and weather variability on the sector, and on smallholder farmers in particular. It is necessary, therefore, to build resilience and help farmers to adapt to the changing climate in a way that ensures that a growing population can be fed sustainably without further depleting natural resources.

With Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) showing the potential to achieve the above, efforts are under way to develop, organise and scale up CSA practices. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the adoption of CSA practices is currently low, the literature points to the necessity to make significant investments in agricultural research and development, institutional support and infrastructural development. Worth noting, however, is the need for a platform where agencies responsible for the various interventions can engage and learn from one another such that future interventions are planned and coordinated from a better informed position. One such attempt was made by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), which convened a meeting of CSA partners in Lusaka, Zambia, from 12th to 14th October 2017.

The purpose of the meeting was to draw inputs from the various organisations with the aim of developing collaborative CSA promotion interventions in East and Southern Africa. Amongst others, the meeting agreed on the establishment of Conservation Agriculture Centres of Excellence (CA CoE) in countries where they are currently not in existence. This initiative is meant to improve knowledge generation on CA practices through research and training. In addition, the need to provide empirical evidence on the relative profitability of CA under different locations and to link farmers to markets in order to reduce transaction costs, as well as the establishment of incentive arrangements for farmers practising CA/CSA was highlighted.

Represented in the meeting were several organisations, including the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT), Conservation Farming Unit (CFU), FAO, World Food Programme (WFP), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and SACAU. The event was a success such that participants proposed to have such consultative meetings on an annual basis. It was also suggested that in future meetings, the public sector should be invited given their strategic role in the agricultural sector. As Norad project implementing partners ACT, CFU and SACAU were expected after this meeting to identify possible areas for collaboration as provided for in their respective agreements with Norad.

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IFAD successfully completes the supervision mission in SACAU

SACAUstory1IFAD Mission team and representatives of NFOs in Swaziland

The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), together with four other regional farmers’ organisations (RFOs), on the continent has been implementing a Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) which is funded by the European Union (EU), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), French Development Agency (AfD) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) since 2013.

Every year IFAD organises supervision missions to RFOs to review progress of the programme and provide technical support where necessary. The 2017 mission for SACAU took place from 18th to 26th October and was conducted at regional level (SACAU secretariat) and in Swaziland where five implementing national farmers’ organisations (NFOs) namely Agricultural Council of Tanzania, Coalition Paysanne de Madagascar, Lesotho National Farmers Union, Seychelles Farmers Association and host Swaziland National Agricultural Union joined the team.

The mission this year was extremely critical considering that the programme is coming to an end in December 2018. Consequently, much of the time was dedicated towards planning activities for the final year of the programme. To this effect, all parties agreed that with 16 months of implementation left, there is an urgent need to expedite the implementation of project activities. The preparedness of NFOs to sustain activities after the SFOAP funding was also discussed. Regarding the contribution of SFOAP to the capacity of participating NFOs, the mission noted that the programme has contributed to making farmers’ organisations central players in the development of agricultural policies in their respective countries and in the region amongst others.

This was confirmed by the doubling of the number of invitations NFOs received to participate in policy consultation meetings over the period of one year. In addition, participating NFOs are much more present in specific working groups, taskforces and committees discussing agricultural development in their respective countries. In 2013, NFOs were present in only 41 of these structures, but as of August 2017, they were participating in 78 of these. This increase is a proxy evidence that other stakeholders in the sector have confidence in the NFOs and that the credibility of NFOs is being enhanced by the project.

The overall conclusion of the mission was that activities implemented at regional and national levels are relevant and are responding to the needs of the NFOs and farmers. In addition, the IFAD mission appreciated the business-oriented approach by SACAU and NFOs in their operations. This will ensure financial sustainability and reduce dependency on external financing in the long run considering that globally the funding landscape for farmers’ organisations is changing. The mission also commended SACAU for its focus on youth and ICT.

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SACAU Newsletter, October 2017

Click here to download our October 2017

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The plight of youth in the spotlight at the 2017 AGRF

The Seventh African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), under the theme “Accelerating the Path to Prosperity – Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture” was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 4-8 September 2017. The event which was attended by as many as 1,300 delegates, provided a premier platform for individuals to highlight their successes as well as for institutions to share their stories as they strive to drive significant progress across the continent for agricultural transformation and food security.

A number of high-profile dignitaries, such as presidents and former presidents of several African states like Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, graced the 2017 AGRF. The SACAU delegation comprised Dr Theo de Jager, the president; Mr Ishmael Sunga, the CEO; and Mr Benito Eliasi, the Capacity Development Advisor as well as Ms Ruramiso Mashumba and Ms Maness Nkhata, who represented the SACAU Young Farmer Ambassadors.

SACAU took part in four out of the more than 52 sessions that were held in various capacities, including that of organisers, key speakers, discussants and panellists.

The main areas covered in these sessions included youth employment, women in agribusiness, strengthening youths’ access to inputs, markets, financing and creating an enabling policy environment for youth participation in agriculture.

One of the highlights of the AGRF was the launch of the 2017 African Agriculture Status Report (AASR), titled “The Business of Smallholder Agriculture”, which, among others, stressed the importance of governments working with the “free market” to drive Africa’s economic growth from food production.

The report also emphasised the need to substitute imports with high value food produced in Africa for a market forecast to be worth more than US$1-trillion a year by 2030. Delegates at the event emphasised that for Africa to achieve agricultural transformation, new models and new ways of doing business in agriculture are required and highlighted the need for all partners in the agricultural sector to regularly track progress against the agreed action plans to ensure more partners are mobilised and resources accounted for.

The forum also considered how governments, businesses and other partners are delivering on the political, policy and financial commitments worth more than  US$30-billion made at the 2016 AGRF in Nairobi, Kenya, and the impact this is having on the lives and incomes of farmers and agribusinesses.

Commensurate with this, various organisations made commitments to promote agricultural transformation on the continent.

Among these were the European Union; German Federal Ministry of Economic Corporation and Development (BMZ); Yara; Rockefeller Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the African Union.

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Promoting the adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture in southern Africa

The Seventh African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), under the theme “Accelerating the Path to Prosperity – Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture” was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 4-8 September 2017. The event which was attended by as many as 1,300 delegates, provided a premier platform for individuals to highlight their successes as well as for institutions to share their stories as they strive to drive significant progress across the continent for agricultural transformation and food security.

A number of high-profile dignitaries, such as presidents and former presidents of several African states like Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, graced the 2017 AGRF. The SACAU delegation comprised Dr Theo de Jager, the president; Mr Ishmael Sunga, the CEO; and Mr Benito Eliasi, the Capacity Development Advisor as well as Ms Ruramiso Mashumba and Ms Maness Nkhata, who represented the SACAU Young Farmer Ambassadors.

SACAU took part in four out of the more than 52 sessions that were held in various capacities, including that of organisers, key speakers, discussants and panellists.

The main areas covered in these sessions included youth employment, women in agribusiness, strengthening youths’ access to inputs, markets, financing and creating an enabling policy environment for youth participation in agriculture.

One of the highlights of the AGRF was the launch of the 2017 African Agriculture Status Report (AASR), titled “The Business of Smallholder Agriculture”, which, among others, stressed the importance of governments working with the “free market” to drive Africa’s economic growth from food production.

The report also emphasised the need to substitute imports with high value food produced in Africa for a market forecast to be worth more than US$1-trillion a year by 2030.

Delegates at the event emphasised that for Africa to achieve agricultural transformation, new models and new ways of doing business in agriculture are required and highlighted the need for all partners in the agricultural sector to regularly track progress against the agreed action plans to ensure more partners are mobilised and resources accounted for.

The forum also considered how governments, businesses and other partners are delivering on the political, policy and financial commitments worth more than  US$30-billion made at the 2016 AGRF in Nairobi, Kenya, and the impact this is having on the lives and incomes of farmers and agribusinesses.

Commensurate with this, various organisations made commitments to promote agricultural transformation on the continent. Among these were the European Union; German Federal Ministry of Economic Corporation and Development (BMZ); Yara; Rockefeller Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the African Union.

Ruramiso Mashumba in one of her maize fields

Meet Ruramiso Mashumba, SACAU’s Young Agripreneur Ambassador

Ruramiso Mashumba in one of her maize fields

Ruramiso Mashumba in one of her maize fields

Ruramiso Mashumba is a young female farmer from Marondera, Zimbabwe. She started farming in 2012 on a farm she inherited from her parents. At the time, the farm was just a bush with no equipment and the necessary infrastructure.

In 2013, she started growing snap peas for export to the European Union and Africa. She has since expanded her operations and now grows a variety of horticulture crops, indigenous organic grains that she mills into our under the brand Mnandi organic and traditional, brown rice as well as commercial maize. Ruramiso is also involved in forestry – in 2014, she partnered with Sustainable Afforestation Association, a Zimbabwean-based organisation, and planted 100ha of gum trees. She is also venturing into seed production after securing a contract with a renowned company to grow 30ha seed maize and 20ha seed millet.

Her interest in farming started while she was working in the United Kingdom for one of the leading agricultural equipment companies.
It was there that she realised the potential of equipment and technology in transforming agriculture. This led her to commit to change the image of agriculture, and she embarked on farming upon her return to Zimbabwe. Ruramiso has never looked back since she started farming and is continuously looking for ways to improve and grow her farming business. The many opportunities that she knows exist in agriculture keep her interested in remaining a farmer.

Ruramiso holds a BA Degree in Agriculture Business Management from the University of West England (UWE). She is the National Chairperson of The Zimbabwe Farmers Union Young Farmers’ Club to which she was elected in 2014. Ruramiso also founded Mnandi Africa, an organisation that helps rural woman to combat poverty and malnutrition by empowering and equipping them with skills and knowledge in agriculture, nutrition, markets and technology; assisting them to access affordable and effective agro technology through an input-sharing program; and collectively purchasing and selling goods and services. Mnandi’s vision is to ultimately end hunger and poverty.

Her work was noticed by AGCO and she was invited to attend their Africa Summit in Berlin in 2015. After sharing her story, she won an award for in uence and leading woman toward mechanisation in Africa. In 2016, she was selected to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which is the agship program of Barak Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. Ruramiso was selected to be a panelist at the World Food Prize in Iowa and gave input on the importance of nutrition in Africa.

She also became a member of the global farmer network and was nominated for The Zimbabwe Businesswoman award. She has also been featured in a number of publications, including The Zimbabwean Farmer magazine and also on the New Alliance for food and nutrition publication, which is endorsed by the African Union.

On attracting and keeping young people in farming, she believes that there should be efforts tobrand agriculture as a success and showcase opportunities in the value chain.

Lena Martens Kalmelid addressing delegates at the land conference.

Tenure security and agricultural transformation: highlights of the conference

Lena Martens Kalmelid addressing delegates at the land conference.

Lena Martens Kalmelid addressing delegates at the land conference.

The primary focus of the conference was on the impact of land tenure security on agricultural transformation in the smallholder sector in southern Africa. This event brought together over 86 delegates from Farmers Organisations (FOs), land-based organisation, young farmers, private sector, inter-governmental bodies, academia and cooperating partners.

The conference was officially opened by Mr Gugile Nkwinti, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform of the Republic of South Africa. Dr Janet Edeme from the African Union Commission (AUC), Mrs Lena Martens Kalmelid from We Effect Southern Africa and Dr Theo de Jager from SACAU also made opening remarks. Dr Edeme informed delegates of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges of 2009 whose key resolutions include ensuring that land laws provide for equitable access to land related resources and to strengthen security of tenure of all holders, including women.

The AUC has been working with partners to support member states to implement this declaration. Mrs Kalmelid highlighted that last year, the Board adopted a global strategy called “equality first” in which gender equality and the rights for women are central. She stated that gender equality in its full sense cannot be achieved if land rights of women are not addressed. In his remarks, Dr de Jager welcomed delegates and encouraged them to engage in the discussions openly, stating “we are the voice of farmers out there and after the session we will be able to say that farmers of southern Africa feel this way about tenure security.” A keynote paper commissioned by We Effect and SACAU on the subject formed the basis of the discussions. It highlighted that there is much more to agricultural transformation than tenure security. Another key observation from the paper was that security of tenure is more important than the form of tenure system.

Three other presentations were made focusing on the case study on the implementation of the Mozambican land law in Niassa, the AU agenda on land and on the German Land Tenure example. Key messages were drawn from the presentations and deliberations. They are within the context of land tenure security and not broad land issues and highlighted as follows: 1.Rural transformation depends on reforming the architecture of the national budgets. 2.Land governance agenda, especially land tenure security to be located within the context of agricultural and rural transformation. 3.Tenure security alone is not enough, it does not lead to transformation, it needs to be accompanied by other support. 4.FOs should develop their own capacities to engage in land initiatives at all levels (sub-national, national, regional and continental levels). 5.There is need for harmonisation and alignment of statutory and customary laws and their administrative and institutional arrangements. 6.There is need to strengthen land governance (particularly the relationship between chiefs and governments) at all levels in order to secure the rights of marginalised groups, especially women and young farmers.

7.SACAU and member organisation should develop and implement gender policies affirming gender equality in all structures. 8.The conference recognises the multiplicity of land tenure systems which are not mutually exclusive and the need for countries to recognise multiple forms of tenure. In this regard, security is more important than the type of tenure. 9.There is need to establish, develop, maintain and manage state of the art information systems at country level, including the use of digital technology. 10.The conference recognises and supports the efforts by the AU in addressing land issues, including tenure security and gender. Thus, the conference appeals to the AUC to find more effective ways of disseminating and engaging the countries on land issues. 11.There is need for enforcement and implementation of AUC guiding principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments (both local and foreign) in order to attract quality investments. 12.There is need to involve and support young women and men farmers to improve their access to land and secure their land rights. These were adopted by the SACAU Annual General Meeting that met two days after the conference.

Minister Gugile Nkwinti opening the land conference.

Minister Gugile Nkwinti addresses land tenure security conference

Minister Gugile Nkwinti opening the land conference.

                   Minister Gugile Nkwinti opening the land conference.

Mr Gugile Nkwinti, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform of the Republic of South Africa, addressed delegates at the consultative meeting for Farmers’ Organisations (FOs) on land tenure security and agricultural transformation in the smallholder sector in southern Africa. The meeting was co-hosted by We Effect and SACAU from 22nd to 23rd May 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa (SA).

The Minister shared the various experiences of South Africa in dealing with land issues. “No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty without land and without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government,” he quoted from the country’s National Development Plan. He stated that this was the mandate of government to which land was central. “South Africa is creating a new tenure system and trying to bring all South Africans on board, particularly women,”said Minister Nkwinti. He stated that the country is not only addressing the colonial legacy but pre-colonial legacy, particularly as there are still remnants of the feudal system that still show up now and again.

The one household one hectare concept was established and this will amongst others ensure that there is some institutional form of protection for the family, particularly women in rural areas. “The communal land tenure bill is entrenching the security of women through one household one hectare,” he said. He also mentioned that the democratic values enshrined in the constitution need to be upheld and this means title deeds need to be provided. “We don’t want people to continue living in rural areas under a feudal system when we have a constitutional democracy – the two cannot co-exist forever,” he further stated.

On the lessons learned, he first emphasised that the government wants to ensure that every piece of land is cultivated and asserted that if all South Africans who have land were using the land gainfully, “we would have a different South Africa today.” Communal property associations were created but these came with problems – trust. This involves giving land to groups of people who have never worked together, and not to individuals, thus leading to conflicts which usually result in no production and lands that are lying fallow. In other instances, people who have been given title deeds obtain loans that they eventually fail to service and the land goes back to those it was acquired from while others fight over resources provided to work the land.

People were also given land because they were unemployed thinking that they would be farmers. “These are the issues SA is addressing and we want to learn from others in Africa,” said the Minister. The Minister also highlighted that the question of sharing land equitably across race groups needs to be addressed as it undermines equity among races. On the question of how much land has been distributed, it becomes difficult to answer until such time the land audit has been finalised. The same applies to the hectares lying fallow. He also referred to the regulation of the landholding bill which does not allow foreign nationals in SA to own land but to have the right to lease it for a minimum of 30 years.

Agriterra and SACAU team posing after working on the SACAU Agri agency business plan. From left to right: Mr Ishmael Sunga, Mr Wil Wijtsma, Ms Fhumulani Mashau, Mr Peter van Boekel and Mr. Benito Eliasi.

Formulating Business Plan Commences

Agriterra and SACAU team posing after working on the SACAU Agri agency business plan. From left to right: Mr Ishmael Sunga, Mr Wil Wijtsma, Ms Fhumulani Mashau, Mr Peter van Boekel and Mr. Benito Eliasi.

Agriterra and SACAU team posing after working on the SACAU Agri agency business plan. From left to right: Mr Ishmael Sunga, Mr Wil Wijtsma, Ms Fhumulani Mashau, Mr Peter van Boekel and Mr. Benito Eliasi.

The establishment of the SACAU agri-agency as directed by the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Swaziland is taking shape and an Agriterra mission was recently hosted to advance this.

The main objective of the mission was to work with SACAU technical team in developing a five-year business plan for the agri-agency.

The development of the business plan was building on the three previous missions that were conducted to 10 members of SACAU in six countries namely; Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as the Secretariat. The Agriterra mission comprised Mr Peter van Boekel and Mr Wil Wijtsma from Netherlands, while the SACAU team comprised Mr Ishmael Sunga, Ms Fhumulani Mashau and Mr Benito Eliasi. At the end of the mission, broader areas of intervention in the business plan were discussed and agreed upon.

Also, the approach and first steps of operationalisation were agreed upon. More specifically, this looked at the services to be offered, resourcing and operational modalities. The business plan will be presented to the SACAU Board in the second or third quarter of this year.