With our upcoming Annual Conference in May, trade issues will be put under the spotlight. The theme of the conference is “Trade as a driver for agricultural transformation in southern Africa”.
Delegates will get an overview of trade agreements impacting on agricultural development in southern Africa which will amongst others highlight the rules, regulations and key processes within which trade happens at the global and continental levels and between countries.
A presentation based on a paper that was commissioned in 2017 will provide a background to these agreements. This will be followed by more in-depth discussions of the different types of existing frameworks, agreements and some key elements within which are considered critical. Furthermore, concerns with current trade practices and arrangements will be highlighted, with case studies in certain areas provided.
More specifically, this will look at the controversies and issues around trade arrangements and practices and the extent to which they hinder prospects of agricultural transformation. Areas to be highlighted include unfair trade practices such as dumping, the influence of standards on producers’ participation in global value chains, and the effects of food and agricultural imports/export bans on producers and other value chain actors.
The conference will conclude by identifying and discussing key elements to consider in pursuing a trade-driven agricultural transformation agenda. These elements are among others, trade related infrastructure, trade policy, competitiveness, skills, and agro-industrialisation in the region. Appropriate entry points and key role players as well as expectations of the role players will be identified.