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

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.

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

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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