WBII leaflet

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Transforming agriculture to boost food security

The current drought is already having severe negative effects on regional food security. South Africa, the region’s largest maize producer, is facing a 5 million tonne deficit that will need to be met through imports.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) organised a food security conference from 7 to 10 of March in Oslo. The conference was attended by global leaders to engage in a dialogue on food security and what the role of agriculture is in contributing to national development efforts as well as local and global stability.

SACAU CEO Ishmael Sunga was invited to speak on ‘Transforming Agriculture for a Food Secure Future’ and ‘Rural development – A Farmer Driven Development Agenda?’.

Mr Sunga’s presentation focused on key issues faced by farmers in the southern Africa  and also touched on methods that can be used to improve food security by developing the agricultural sector.

“There needs to be a more transformative agenda in agricultural development which is centred on enterprise development, and focused on growth and prosperity,” said Sunga.

Due to the drought, regional food supplies are limited and staple food prices are higher than average. Nearly 29 million people are currently food insecure in the southern Africa region.

Mr Sunga points out there is still more to be done to improve the food insecure region.

“African leaders need to harness the power of digital technology to support sustainable food systems. They need to think strategically and come up with new methods that are innovative to drive development in the agricultural sector,” said Sunga.

“There is limited access to factors of production such as land, finance, technology or machinery,” said he adds.

Dairy sector stakeholders to meet in Maseru

SACAU will co-host a regional meeting for members of its dairy stakeholders in Lesotho next month with the Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) and long-term development partner, We Effect. The meeting will take place from 11th-13th April in Maseru.

The Lesotho dairy sector is a dynamic one with ample opportunities to showcase and as such, the decision to visit the country to expose regional stakeholders to the local industry was one which was welcomed by LENAFU member, Mr Motsau Khuele. Peer learning and knowledge sharing play a significant role in the provision of information and through this workshop, members of national dairy associations in the southern Africa region will gain first-hand experience of a well-sustained dairy market.

Milk production in sub-Saharan Africa is highly dependent on rain-fed fodder, hence fluctuations in production throughout the year. With the region currently ravaged by a devastating drought, the potential of milk shortages is looming as dairy farmers resort to either selling their livestock or their land to survive the drought.

In the three-day workshop, national dairy associations will, among other activities, deliver presentations covering last season’s challenges and successes, providing respective countries with insights into their neighbours’ industries which inevitably affect them.

The last regional meeting held for the national dairy associations was in June 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe and it was noted that interaction among the associations would need to be intensified if the respective dairy value chains are to survive the ever-changing economic climate amidst pressure from international producers.