His Excellency Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa (President, Republic of Zimbabwe) and delegates at the SACAU annual conference
1. As farmers’ organisations we need to provide compelling arguments about the value addition of farmers and agriculture to the fiscus – s/he who contributes more to the fiscus gets listened to.
2. As long as we continue to ignore research evidence in policy formulation and implementation, no progress will be achieved towards agricultural transformation.
3. It is important to understand and quantify the cost of bad policies, inaction, and dependence in our countries.
4. Countries and the region are not short of declarations, policies, protocols, frameworks, and strategies for promoting agricultural development and trade. What is lacking is their implementation. Where implementation takes place, monitoring and evaluation is not adequately done. Relatedly, we should avoid running with “podium policies” because they have no long-term plan and most often are not evidence based, but politically inspired.
5. It is useful to align national trade related policies with regional, continental and global processes although the specificities of the region’s needs and capacities should remain paramount.
6. As farmers’ organisations, we should be advocating for smart subsidy investments in key drivers for agricultural transformation e.g. infrastructure, feeder roads, greater use of railways, etc. Much of the cost of this can be tapped from the billions we currently use for imports. To accomplish this, we need to partner up and build trust in order to influence policy.
7. A bad policy which is consistently implemented is more manageable than inconsistent policies which are more disruptive.
8. The region needs to negotiate with one voice for it to be able to exert influence in negotiations.
9. There is need to assess why the region is not fully benefitting from current trade arrangements.