Inclusiveness, shared values and prosperity: key to agriculture development

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Mr Ishmael Sunga at the World Economic Forum meeting.

Sustainable growth and development in the agriculture sector will not happen if the sector is not inclusive and does not have shared values. This is one of the key messages coming out of this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. There is no doubt that peace and stability are pre-requisites for the growth and development of the agriculture sector.

Thus, safeguarding political and economic stability will be critical for the development of the agriculturedriven economies of southern Africa. The sector will need to be more inclusive and have shared values if it is to develop in a sustainable way.

Shared prosperity will also be fundamental in this regard. There is a greater need for a good balance between politics and economics. Meanwhile, advances in science and technology in agriculture continue to bring new dimensions, some destructive and others constructive/productive.

Indeed, the sector has become technology driven, and technology is virtually touching all aspects of lives- it is influencing the way people think, relate and behave, and it can link, connect, bend, break, fracture and so forth.Technology can facilitate greedbased exploitation of resources and consumption of goods and services.

Competitiveness in agriculture should not become a divisive wall, effectively excluding others. Instead, technology can be harnessed to increase transparency and accountability in the sector, to foster greater cooperation, facilitate integration and to manage conflict in the sector