A climate change adaptation roadmap for agriculture

KKLA discussion paper titled “Feeding the world in a changing climate: an adaptation roadmap for agriculture” was recently published. The paper looks at the main issues that an adaptation roadmap for agriculture should consider, particularly in developing countries.

It explores several questions which are around the principal climate risks to agriculture and the implications of no adaptation; areas where action is required to advance in the implementation of climate resilient agriculture practices; emerging lessons from successful adaptation efforts in agriculture, and key pathways to scaling up agricultural adaptation.

Some of the highlights are the three areas in which action is required to lay the groundwork to advance climate-resilient agriculture practices, worldwide. These are scaling adaptive farming technologies and practices that work, deploying national climate policies and action to drive adaptation efforts, and mobilising finance for large scale agricultural adaptation activity.

In laying the groundwork, the paper draws out lessons to inform the design and implementation of solutions at scale within the urgent timeframe required. Some of the lessons are that a shared vision of the future of farming helps navigate uncertainty; collective actions help overcome barriers; adaptation actions need to tackle the root cause of risks and vulnerabilities; food system reform can empower women, youth, and other marginalised groups; approaches to leapfrog learning curves are key; meeting short – and long-term priorities alike; adaptation actions to suit context; realising benefits at scale, and tracking progress toward adaptation goals is a crucial aspect of any effective adaptation strategy.

It concludes by making several recommendations, amongst them the following: promoting climate-resilient and low-emission practices and technologies; expanding digital climate information services; mobilising innovative finance to leverage public and private sector investments for adaptation; strengthening farmer and consumer organisations and networks and delivering enabling policies and institutions.

According to the paper, these recommendations need to be at the centre of future agricultural research, policy, action and advocacy. Pursuing an agenda around these recommendations will help achieve major transitions across the agriculture sector and to replicate promising solutions on the scale required to address climate change risks and ensure food security. SACAU is one of the 15 authors of the discussion paper. The full paper can be accessed from https://cdn.gca.org/ assets/2018-10/18_WP_GCA_ Agriculture_1001_Oct5.pdf

SACAU successfully co-hosts the 2018 AGRF


SACAU recently co-hosted, together with the 17 members of the African Green Revolution Forum(AGRF) Partners Group, which include SACAU and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as the AGRF Secretariat. The Forum, which was officially opened by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and 2018 Chairperson of the African Union, was held in Kigali, Rwanda from 5 to 8 September.

SACAU was represented by Mr. Benito Eliasi and Mr. Ishmael Sunga from the Secretariat. The theme of the Forum was “Lead, Measure, Grow: Enabling New Pathways to Turn Smallholders into Sustainable Agribusinesses”. The Forum was attended by 2800 delegates from 79 countries and involved more than 46 sessions covering wide-ranging issues.

SACAU’s contribution helped shape and drive the following sessions: Entrepreneurial Youth in Agriculture: New Skills and Technologies for Growth, Transformative Action in Soil Health and Crop Nutrition for Closing the Yield Gap in Africa, Unlocking Opportunities for Agricultural Growth and Transformation through Mechanization, and the Policy Symposium: Food and Land Use.

In a letter of appreciation, the President of AGRA, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, indicated that the feedback received for the different sessions we were involved in had been excellent and our technical and thought leadership in various sessions greatly contributed to the richness of the program. Acknowledging the contribution of SACAU, the President of AGRA noted that they recognised SACAU’s leadership in Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda and in this Forum. She further, observed that the knowledge and expertise that SACAU shared will immensely contribute to the advancement of the sector so that eventually, this can translate into tangible impact in growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.

Our support and presence indeed contributed to the success of the AGRF, and we look forward to the 2019 AGRF and to delivering on this shared agenda going forward.

Nurturing the development of a new generation of young professional leaders

There is a growing realisation that many of the challenges to the transformation of African agriculture are related to leadership inadequacies at local, national, regional and continental levels. Agricultural systems are rapidly changing, being driven by, among other factors, globalisation, advances in technological and scientific knowledge as well as the advent of information and communications technologies (ICTs) and big data.

It is against this background that SACAU considers this a strategic area for its investments. Thus, the development of a new generation of young professional farmer leaders capable of driving and overseeing the future transformation of the agricultural sector in Africa cannot be overemphasised.

Lessons on what and how this can be achieved can be learned from other organisations who have successfully run with the idea. One such institution is Andreas Hermes Akademie (AHA) of Germany, with whom SACAU already has relations.

Hopefully in the distant future, the region will find itself in a position to cater for its young farmers in a similar manner and take its agriculture sector to the next level.

CEO’s Letter

SACAU CEO Ishmael Sunga

SACAU CEO Ishmael Sunga

Without doubt, the main highlight of this double issue of our newsletter for September and October is the milestone progress that we achieved towards the development of our next generation strategic plan. On 17 and 18 September, we had the pleasure to host our members – our shareholders, for a very important occasion outside the AGM.

The location was Centurion in South Africa, and the occasion was the strategic review and strategic plan development workshop. Members had the opportunity to reflect, in strategic terms, on the performance of the organisation over the past three years, and to provide strategic guidance on what the focus of the organisation’s work should be in the next five years.

The outcomes of this workshop were fulfilling as highlighted elsewhere in this issue, thanks to the thorough preparations and excellent facilitation. And let the drafting begin – a process that will keep us intensely busy for the next couple of months! Then, there was the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda, and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York, USA- two prime events which we participated in.

Thought leadership from the perspectives of farmers’ organisations’ perspective is increasingly becoming part of our work, building on and drawing upon the various ideas and experiences that come with our membership nature and regional character. To this end, we are deliberately and increasingly ventilating some of our ideas and thoughts by publishing through blogs and other platforms in collaborative efforts with other organisations, as highlighted in this issue.

Finally, it looks like we will end this year the way we started it – very busy! Virtually all our diaries are full till the very end of the year. Some of the activities worth highlighting in this regard include drafting of the strategic plan, hosting of the last Board meeting of the year, capacity building training and other workshops for members as well as attending regional and international meetings, including the traditional climate change COP 24.

Enjoy the read, ladies and gentlemen!

Delegates to the workshop, Centurion, South Africa

Delegates to the workshop, Centurion, South Africa

There was absolutely no doubt at the end of intense and exhaustive deliberations on SACAU’s strategy that agribusiness would be the DNA of SACAU’s next generation activities. Whilst members agreed advocacy, capacity strengthening of Farmer’s Organisations and provision of agriculture Information would remain the strategic work areas, or Pillars, guiding SACAU’s work for the next five years, they were decided on agribusiness as underpinning the strategic thrust of SACAU’s work.

This follows a two-day high-level consultative workshop of SACAU members, represented by the respective presidents/chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of member organisations, which reviewed the performance of the organisation in the past 4/5 years and developed a framework that would guide the development of the strategic plan for the next 5 or so years.

The overall conclusion of the review was that the performance of the organisation had been very good, and important strategic insights could be drawn from it. Whilst there was consensus to retain the main pillars underpinning the current strategy, it was unanimous that agribusiness would now be the overriding focus underpinning all our work, be it in advocacy, capacity strengthening or agricultural information.

With a clear mandate from members, the drafting of the strategy has commenced, and will be presented to members for their consideration, and ultimately sign off.

ANNOUNCEMENTS HERE IS WHAT’S NEW AT SACAU: Appointment of Mr Tinashe Chavhunduka Mr Tinashe Chavhunduka

 Mr Tinashe Chavhunduka

Mr Tinashe Chavhunduka

Appointment of Mr Tinashe Chavhunduka will join SACAU on the 1st of September as Programme Officer – Regional Commodity Platforms. Tinashe holds a Master’s and an Honours degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Management and a Certificate in Quality Assurance and has worked in the agricultural sector in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. Prior to joining SACAU, he worked for Fairtrade Africa as a Business Development Advisor, responsible for supporting producers and farm workers in the implementation of programmes and projects to address social and economic development challenges in South Africa.

He also worked as a Programme and Policy Officer for the Department for International Development (DFID) and prior to that was a Project Manager at National Emergent Red Meat Producer’s Organisation (NERPO) where he was responsible for emerging farmer support and development programmes. His major areas of research interest include agricultural policy, agribusiness, smallholder agriculture and rural development, food security, climate change and land reform. Tinashe has published in peerreviewed journals and book chapters. SACAU welcomes him to the team!

Second Africa Congress on Conservation Agriculture


The Second Africa Congress on Conservation Agriculture (2ACCA) will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from the 9th to 12th October 2018. Convened under the theme “Making Climate Smart Agriculture real in Africa with Conservation Agriculture: Supporting the Malabo Declaration and Agenda 2063”, this year’s Congress will bring together politicians, farmers, policy makers, service providers and researchers from Africa and the rest of the world, along with financing organisations, and other stakeholders to identify options for promoting Conservation Agriculture (CA) as an integral part of Climate Smart Food and Agriculture systems across Africa.

The purpose of the 2ACCA is to facilitate diverse and open sharing of experiences and information on CA thereby fostering learning and widespread awareness and interest in the uptake and spread of CA.

This includes CA’s role in: enhancing sustainable agricultural productivity, strengthening environmental and social resilience, and fostering efforts to provide for food and nutrition security as well as jobs and economic opportunities, especially for rural communities, including youth and women. Apart from hosting leading African and international speakers, the event will showcase the latest innovations on sustainable agriculture and ecosystem management.

The Congress will also award women, men and organisations for their outstanding contributions in the promotion, adoption and spread of CA in Africa. SACAU is a member of the International Organising Committee for this event and will be co-facilitating the Farmers’ Forum, a session that will deliberate on farmers’ commitments in making CSA a reality through CA, discuss challenges they face as well as existing opportunities for scaling up CSA.

The forum will also initiate a discussion on how service providers could better support farmers to make CSA through CA a reality. More information on the 2ACCA can be accessed from https://africacacongress.org/

SACAU Women Agripreneurs sensitised on SADC Trade Protocols

Women at the sensitisation workshop

Women at the sensitisation workshop

As one way of empowering women for effective participation and contribution towards development of the agriculture sector in their respective countries, SACAU’s 2018 Women’s forum focused on sensitising representatives of female Agripreneurs on SADC trade protocols and the importance of adhering to basic food safety and standards requirements.

Two experts Mrs Margret Lungu of SADCSTAN and Mr Bongani Khanyile of SADCTBTSC were invited to discuss with the representatives on these matters. They made presentations on Effective participation in the development/harmonisation of Regional standards for Agricultural Products and SADC Protocols on Trade – Eradicating TBTs in SADC.

In her presentation, Mrs Lungu talked about the SADC Protocol on trade which provides a framework for cooperation and trade among countries in the region. She stated that among other things, SADC trade protocols aim at easing customs procedures, harmonising national trade policies with regional policies as well as promoting fair trade among trading countries.

She emphatically called upon women farmers (as part of stakeholders) to participate in the process of formulating and harmonising the standards as well as regulations in their respective countries. She contended that agricultural standards proposed by farmers will be deemed more important and relevant than those that are proposed by technical people, thus encouraged women to take an active role in the standards developing processes in their respective countries.

Mr. Khanyile’s presentation focused on how to eradicate Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) in the region. He mentioned that the most important concept in trade is “TRUST” and that trade happens between countries that trust each other. The trust is mainly derived from adhering to the scientifically set regulations and standards. “Each country is expected to have infrastructure and mechanisms that regulate the movement of goods and services to avoid harming the other partner economically, socially and environmentally”, stated Mr Khanyile.

He however indicated that there are some technical barriers to trade that need to be eradicated and these include; import bans, discriminatory rules of origin, stringent quality conditions imposed by the importing country and unjustified SPS conditions (animal /plant health reasons) among others. He also informed participants that, in addition to technical regulations to trade, standards can also become obstacles to trade and these are not legally binding, but some countries might choose to set their standards high to hinder entry of goods and services that are deemed to be of low standards from other countries

National Farmers’ Organisations (NFOs) Share Experience from Implementing SFOAP

SACAU has generally succeeded in achieving the objectives of the Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Program (SFOAP) which has been running for the past six years. This was noted during the last International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) supervision mission, which took place from the 30th July to the 3rd of August 2018.

From the review between SACAU and IFAD, it was clear that despite the challenges encountered over the five years of implementation, the program has achieved its objectives of strengthening the institutional capacity of the six farmers’ organisation in the region as well as enhancing the capacity of NFOs to represent their farmers in policy engagement forums in their respective countries as evidenced by the number of high level invitation the NFOs are attracting.

The evidence shows that SFOAP has generated new attention to the agriculture sector in the countries where the program is implemented. For example, in Lesotho, agriculture features among the four priority areas in the 2018-2022 National Strategic Development Plan and LENAFU has played a greater role in shaping it as a member of the working group. The new strategic plan of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (the main parastatal charged with the implementation of the country’s industrial development policies) allocates 80% of its budget to supporting the agriculture sector. This is a positive outcome of the program worth noting. Likewise, CPM indicated that Madagascar’s new Agriculture and Fisheries Sector Programme embodies more than 50% of proposals that were provided by them.

In Tanzania, ACT contributed to the drafting and adoption of new policies and regulations that responded to farmers’ needs and directly impact farmers’ businesses. This was possible because ACT participated in a task force that was responsible for the revision of the tax regime systems on agricultural products. Their intervention resulted in the removal of 117 different taxes, fees and levies in the areas of crop production, cooperatives, livestock production and fisheries.

In addition, through the advocacy work of ACT, the Ministry of Finance exempted VAT and import duty on capital goods to reduce procurement and import costs on veterinary drugs and machinery in the edible oil and leather sub-sectors. These policy changes have directly benefitted farmers as well as private players and consumers in the participating countries.

Workshop of Farmer s’ Organisations in Agricultural Policy Processes

The SACAU President and CEO will be attending a workshop in September organised by the Andreas Hermes Akademie (AHA) in Germany. The event aims to foster mutual understanding between European and African Farmers’ Organisations (FOs), promote North-South-South exchanges and networking. It will also sensitize participants on agricultural trade policy issues in Europe and Africa and strengthen the capacity of FOs in policy dialogue.

The event consists of a 3-day workshop and a panel discussion on the role of FOs in market policy processes in Africa and Europe. The panel discussion is hosted by the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The SACAU delegation will take advantage of this opportunity to discuss prospects for long-term cooperation between SACAU and AHA, which could result in the establishment of an Academy for Leadership in farming.