Normal to Below Normal Rainfall Predicted for 2018/19 Season


The consensus forecast produced by the 22nd annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-22) held in Lusaka, Zambia in August 2018 indicates that, with the exception of Tanzania, most of the southern African region is expected to receive normal to below normal rainfall between October and December (OND) 2018.

Areas that are likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall during OND 2018 include eastern and southern parts of Angola, north and southern parts of DRC, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, western and southern Madagascar, southern Malawi, central and southern Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as most of Namibia and South Africa.

The northern part of Tanzania is expected to receive above normal to normal rainfall during OND 2018, implying possibilities of flooding in some parts. Current predictions also indicate that the January to March 2019 (JFM) period is not likely to bring much change as most of the region will continue to receive normal tobelow normal rainfall.

However, northern Angola, central DRC, south western Tanzania, northern Malawi and the island states of Comoros, Mauritius, easternmost Madagascar and Seychelles are likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall throughout the 2018/19 rainy season. With a high likelihood of receiving late rains in most parts of the region, planting could be delayed towards late 2018 or early 2019.

The expected rainfall for most of the region is also predicted to be insufficient to meet the needs of the agricultural sector while mean temperatures are likely to be between normal to above normal for most of the 2018/19 season over most parts of the region. These predictions imply that farmers need to consider various risk management strategies in consultation with local authorities, including meteorological services and agricultural extension experts. The detailed 2018/19 outlook can be accessed from: documents/SARCOF22/

Farmers Concerned by lack of CSA Alliances in southern Africa

Unlike other regions in the African continent, where Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have embraced Climate Smart Agriculture Alliances (CSAAs) as strategic support instruments and are actively engaged in the promotion and coordination of CSA programmes, the southern African region is unfortunately lagging behind in this aspect. As such, southern Africa does not have regional representation in the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance, which is coordinated by the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU-NEPAD). Without a doubt, farmers are key stakeholders in the ‘Climate Change – Agriculture nexus’ and are worst affected by climate change related disasters.

After completing a 3-day CSA advocacy training conducted by ONE CAMPAIGN AFRICA in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2018, representatives of members of SACAU identified the importance of establishing CSAAs at country level as a means to increase the uptake and practice of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in the southern African region. With the exception of Zambia and Tanzania, most southern African countries are yet to heed the AU’s call under the Malabo declaration to establish CSAAs, bringing together government agencies, civil society organisations, research institutions, farmers’ organisations, private sector, international organisations and other relevant agencies. I

n countries and subregions where such Alliances are active, they have been found to improve consultation, coordination, convergence, resource mobilization and monitoring the implementation of CSA related initiatives. Partners are also able to leverage each other’s strengths and technical capacities to facilitate the scaling up of CSA.

Competency and Skills Gaps Assessment


A workshop with selected industry stakeholders representing various segments of agricultural value chains brought out interesting insights into the key competencies of a farmer that they consider critical currently and in the future. According to the industry stakeholders, the skills that they found lacking most in the current crop of farmers were mainly in the areas of research, technology, project management, entrepreneurship, business acumen and collaboration.

On the young farmers’ side, a comprehensive online competency assessment questionnaire with more than 100 questions was administered to 30 young agripreneurs from our Young Farmers Platform. The results from the assessment identified the following skills areas as important for the farmer, but also lacking in order of importance: financial, business, research, collaboration, technological/digital and project management. This process is part of the ongoing competency development initiative for the 21st Century farmer that SACAU is involved in.

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

SACAU is ready to co-host the African Green Revolution AGRFAfrica’s flagship annual event in the agricultural development calendar. The Forum is technically and financially supported by an alliance of partners that care about, commit to, and work to drive inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa.

As already alluded to, the other co-hosts include AGRA, AGCO, the African Development Bank, YARA International, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IFAD, NEPAD, AU, Syngenta, Rockefeller Foundation and CTA, among others.

As co-chairs of the youth thematic group with the African Development Bank, we have organised a session on “Entrepreneurial Youth in Agriculture: New Skills and Technologies for Growth”. In addition, we also feature in other sessions as speakers and panellists. These sessions will be on “Transformative action in soil health and crop nutrition for closing the yield gap in Africa”, “Unlocking opportunities for agricultural growth and transformation through mechanisation” and “A policy symposium: food and land use”.

In addition, SACAU will take advantage of the more than 40 other sessions which present opportunities for learning and sharing.

CEO’s Letter

mr sungalll

SACAU CEO, Mr Ishmael Sunga

Its official, spring is here! In the Republic of South Africa where we are headquartered, the 1st of September is officially the start of spring, the changing climate notwithstanding. In August we have largely been preoccupied with on-going work and commitments. In this respect, the main item on our work menu has been on the ongoing strategic review of our operations and strategic planning for the next 5 years. This work is progressing very well and preparations for a consultative workshop with the CEOs and Presidents of all members which is planned for mid-September are well underway.

During the first week of August, the SACAU Board held its first meeting since the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held in mid-May. We pride ourselves in good corporate governance and Board meetings are an essential aspect of this. As you might be already aware that a minimum of four such meetings between AGMs is constitutionally provided for.

Two days before the Board meeting, an informative and educative Board induction workshop which was attended by all members, was successfully held to familiarise them with good corporate governance requirements. A day preceding the board meeting, a workshop for technical staff and Board members was held to discuss preliminary outcomes of the strategic review and strategic planning process. The Board agreed to the draft framework elements that were developed by the consultant for presentation and deliberation at the forthcoming workshop of members, which we are all excited about.

We are also set for Africa’s flagship annual event, “the African Green Revolution Forum”, which will be jointly co-hosted by several partners including ourselves, AGRA, the African Development Bank, YARA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IFAD, NEPAD, AU, Syngenta, Rockefeller Foundation, CTA, among others. We will also be co-chairing a session, as well as feature in more than four other sessions as speakers and panellists. The event will also be attended by several African Heads of State, ministers, farmers’ organisations, agribusiness, research institutions and NGOs, among others.

Enjoy the read and see you soon!

Ishmael Sunga

Board Induction

SACAU Board members from left to right (back) Dr S Sinare (Chairman), Mr Alfred Banda (Board member) and Mr Sunga (CEO) and front seated from left to right: Mrs Doreen Hlatshwayo (Vice Chairman) and Mr Phenias Gumede (Board member).

SACAU Board members from left to right (back) Dr S Sinare (Chairman), Mr Alfred Banda
(Board member) and Mr Sunga (CEO) and front seated from left to right: Mrs Doreen
Hlatshwayo (Vice Chairman) and Mr Phenias Gumede (Board member).

Good corporate governance is indispensable to the long-term sustainability of an organisation. In fact, bad corporate governance kills. A critical role of the SACAU Board is ensuring the observance and practice of good corporate governance, and to do that effectively they need to be consciously aware of their roles and responsibilities.

To this end, the Secretariat successfully organised an induction workshop for all Board members to familiarise themselves with the corporate governance tenets in South Africa. Basically, corporate governance comprises the law and the “code of ethics and conduct” – so to speak. Being registered as a not for profit company under Section 21 of the Companies Act (2008), good corporate governance begins with SACAU complying with the law.

Thus, familiarity with the law is an essential starting point for Board members who are ultimately responsible for the organisation. But corporate governance is not only about the law, it is also about the exercise of ethical and effective leadership by the governing body that results in achievement of governance outcomes, namely an ethical culture, performance and value creation, effective control, and legitimacy.

The workshop was intense and interactive and Board members found it enlightening and informative. Being aware of their roles and responsibilities, as well as the associated risks, the outcomes of the workshop will enable Board members to carry out their duties in accordance with the prescribed good corporate governance expectations, legal or otherwise.

All roads lead to the AGRF


The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is considered among the most important events in Africa’s annual agricultural calendar. It brings together a range of critical stakeholders in the African agriculture landscape to discuss and commit to programs, investments, and policies that can counter the major challenges affecting the agriculture sector on the continent.

SACAU is indeed proud to be part of the AGRF Partnership Group. The theme of this year’s Forum, which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, on 5-8 September 2018 will be “Lead. Measure. Grow: Enabling new pathways to turn smallholders into future agribusinesses”.

It will take stock, evaluate actions, and learn from compelling evidence across the continent, presented by many of the most inspiring leaders including farmers, public sector thought leaders, private sector champions and agripreneurs, and many others.

The Forum is expected to follow up on the 2016 and 2017 commitments and to showcase leadership of 3-5 African Heads of State and several ministers, particularly regarding the progress made and the lessons learned from their agricultural transformation efforts, so that they serve as champions for the rest of the continent. It will also review the millions of dollars invested in programs representing the commitments from 2016 and 2017.

It will also hear of new financial commitments from partners to continue supporting African agricultural priorities. Several announcements of new business contracts between the private sector, small and medium enterprises, and communities of smallholder farmers, especially in commodity value chains of interest to smallholder farmers will be announced.

The 2018 Africa Food Prize Winner in recognition of this year’s laureate will be announced. The Prize will recognise an extraordinary individual whose outstanding contribution to African agriculture in recent years is forging a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.

More information on the 2018 AGRF 2018 can be accessed from about-agrf-2018.



CSA related policies and investments in southern Africa

From 20 to 22 August 2018, SACAU will be hosting a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) advocacy training workshop for its members. The focus will be on better policies and investments in CSA. This is a follow-up event to the CSA sensitisation workshop held in April 2018 where members were exposed to CSA practices and technologies as well as the fundamentals for improving CSA adoption on a wide scale.

sacau advocacy

Discussions during the sensitisation workshop revealed that, while farmers remain on the frontline of climate risk, development of CSA related policies and programmes continues to be the preserve of the government with very minimal and often impromptu participation by the farmers’ constituency. As a result, their interests, needs and concerns are hardly taken on board in such institutional processes.

In addition, it was revealed that governments have made several CSA related commitments without engaging farmers as ground implementers or at least providing the support required to achieve targets set under some of the declarations.

Building on the knowledge gained from the last event as well as an understanding of the institutional environment in their respective countries, members are now expected to advocate for better incountry CSA related policy frameworks and investments to improve the adoption of appropriate adaptation and mitigation practices.

This calls for a more structured approach from farmers to engage in such processes and advocate effectively for equitable policies that are cognisant of their needs and aspirations as key stakeholders.

Part of the outcomes of the upcoming event will be a CSA advocacy plan ready to be implemented by farmers’ organisations (FOs) as well as a guide to monitor and evaluate its execution.

IFAD supervision mission

SACAU, together with other regional farmers’ organisations in Africa have been implementing the main phase of a programme titled “Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Program (SFOAP)” since 2013.The programme seeks to strengthen and consolidate the institutional capacities of FOs and give them a greater say in agricultural policies and programmes.

This phase also supports the development of FOs’ economic services to facilitate the integration of smallholder farmers in value chain. SFOAP is funded by the European Union (EU), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) through International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). The programme is supervised by IFAD, who are also a co-funder together with the other three agencies.

IFAD has been undertaking supervision missions for SFOAP for the past years that the programme has been running. The fifth supervision mission to SACAU, which is also the last for this phase as the programme ends in December this year, started on 30 July and will be concluded on 03 August.

Its focus is on the assessment of the implementation rate of programme activities and achievements; preparation of an implementation plan for the completion of activities and closure of the grant, and overall financial management.

The first two days of the programme included a presentation of implementation progress by SACAU as well as working sessions with the technical and financial teams. Outcomes of the mission will be reported in the August issue of the newsletter.

SACAU records satisfactory progress in the first half of the year

A half-year progress report of the organisation which provides an overview of its activities during the first half of the year was produced. The report will be considered at the next Board meeting in August. It highlights progress on both the management aspects of the institution as well as the implementation of the strategic plan focusing on its three pillars of advocacy, capacity strengthening of farmers’ organisations and provision of information.

The organisation continued to comply with statutory/ regulatory and good governance requirements; manage financial, human and other resources; mobilise resources and facilitate assessments of the performance of the organisation and its projects, among others.

The review of the operations highlighted progress in several areas. Among others, the organisation was represented in 19 advocacy events; contributed to various articles and publications on various subjects, including agricultural advisory services, mechanisation, bio-innovation, digital identity and soil carbon and supported six members who predominantly represent smallholder farmers with subgrants for institutional, policy and technical capacity development.

This report also formed part of the review with one of the funders, We Effect, who has been supporting SACAU’s core functions. As part of the funding agreement, the two organisations hold two reviews each year, in the first and third quarter of the year, looking at the progress of the previous year and the first half of the year, respectively.