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.