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FANRPAN Regional Stakeholders Policy Dialogue: 4-7 September 2007
Theme: Policy "Triggers" for Agricultural Growth in Southern Africa

Lusaka, Zambia
4 September 2007 - 7 September 2007


Background Papers

Proceedings

Executive Summary

The 2007 FANRPAN regional stakeholders’ dialogue was a dialogue with a difference. Coming at the peak of FANRPAN’s two-year strategic planning process, the 2007 dialogue was a dual-purpose convergence. Firstly, 176 FANRPAN stakeholders, across Southern Africa (41 Policy makers, 37 Researchers, 18 Agribusiness representatives, 17 Farmers, 31 Civil Society Organisation, 7 media reps), converged in Lusaka, Zambia to discuss 2007 FANRPAN policy research findings and recommendations in four areas that significantly impact agricultural growth in the region: (i) Regional Economic Integration; (2) Agricultural trade competitiveness; (3) The Management and Impact of Technological innovation and adoption; and (4) the Impact of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and food security. Secondly, delegations from the twelve (12) FANRPAN member countries converged in Lusaka, Zambia to meet as FANRPAN’s top-most governing body – the Annual General Meeting (AGM) – to review, approve and adopt into use new FANRPAN operational instruments and procedures for the next eight (8) years (2007-2015). Both objectives were successfully achieved.

  1. Government: A key stakeholder and client: A total of 41 high-level policy makers attended the dialogue. It was opened by the Minister of Agriculture in Zambia - Hon. Ben Kapita and closed by the Secretary to the Zambia Cabinet Hon. Robert Mataka. The government enjoys a unique status in FANRPAN – that of a primary stakeholder and yet primary client. The government is one of the five (5) primary stakeholder groupings that constitute the FANPAN node, yet is the primary consumer of all FANRPAN policy research outputs. This “inside-outsider” role that government plays in FANRPAN is an excellent recipe for policy change. The highest level government presence and participation at the dialogue was a clear demonstration and affirmation of the importance that government attaches to FANRPAN policy advice, as well as, the convening power for policy dialogue that the government stake adds to FANRPAN. FANRPAN must, over the next eight (8) years explore and exploit the resource mobilization opportunities that exist in this partnership. All government representatives present committed to revitalize their role in country nodes and to lobby their governments to support country node activities. All country nodes delegations committed to revitalizing the links with their national line ministries and to optimize the partnership with government.


  2. New 8-year Corporate, Business and Operational strategy endorsed – The 2007 FANRPAN AGM approved and adopted into use the 2007-2015 Strategic Framework that was developed through a two-year stakeholder consultation process. The approval of the strategic plan by the AGM marked the end of the planning phase and the beginning of an 8-year implementation phase. The plan is a clear road-map of how FANRPAN is going revitalise itself and make itself more relevant to its customers and clients, amidst new realities and challenges. All delegates made specific corporate and individual commitments towards the effective implementation of the new plan. The new framework, symbolised by a 3-legged African pot, will focus on three pillars: (1) capacity building, (2) policy research and (3) “voice” to facilitate a conducive policy environment in the region. The new framework is based on four(4) strategic objectives linking FANRPAN’s work to the MDGs and CAADP targets: (i) Promoting regional economic integration - through harmonisation of policies; (ii) Positioning southern Africa for a competitive international trade environment (iii) Creating an agricultural policy environment that supports reducing poverty and vulnerability; and (iv) Promoting technology adoption, innovation and adaptation. The program thrust in the 8-year plan will focus on six areas: (a) institutional strengthening, (b) food systems, (c) agricultural systems, (d) natural resources, (e) the environment, and (f) HIV and AIDS.


  3. New Branding: New constitutional amendments endorsed – The 2007 AGM approved and adopted into use a total of 19 amendments to the FANPAN constitution – including the electing of a more functional regional board directly by the AGM, as opposed to the original representation system. These amendments constitute a new “branding” for FANRPAN. While maintaining the main frame of the original FANRPAN, the new amendments will greatly enhance performance and efficacy. The new constitution came into force immediately and the AGM approved five (5) new Board members: (i) Dr Sam Mundia (Permanent secretary, Zambia; (ii) Mr Ajay Vashee (President of SACAU); (iii) Professor Mandivamba Rukuni (Director, Africa Kellogg Foundation); (iv) Professor J F Kirsten (University of Pretoria) and (v) Dr. Lindiwe. M. Sibanda, (CEO, FANRPAN). Representatives from SADC, the Private Sector and the Host Country (SA) will be added to the board at a later stage. This is the new board that will oversee the implementation of the new strategy. These amendments represent a new FANRPAN approach to doing business.


  4. The Impact of HIV and AIDS on Agriculture and Food Security in Southern Africa: The Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), - Since 2004 FANRPAN has been studying the policy implications of the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa on agriculture and food security. Through this research, FANRPAN has developed a new statistical tool – the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), – that can be used to improve vulnerability assessment and analysis, as well as, the targeting of mitigation responses. The tool is able to quantify the different degrees of vulnerability introduced into various households and thus facilitate response programming. This tool has been field-tested in Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe and the findings were presented at the dialogue. The delegates resolved that (1) FANRPAN should consider how the HAVA can be packaged for use by individual researchers, research institutions, civil society organizations and international agencies; (2) FANRPAN should work out how current and new users of the HAVA can access adequate technical and financial support for institutionalization and wider application of the index; (3) Further operational research and wider application of the HAVA methodology should be undertaken in at least three more countries in order to ensure that all the operational constraints of using the index have been dealt with - in preparation for a wider rollout of the tool; (4) There is need to adapt the HAVA for wider community participation which entails interfacing the tool with existing participatory approaches such as vulnerability mapping; and (5) FANRPAN should spearhead a regional adoption and implementation plan for the HAVA.


  5. Promoting Regional Economic Integration: Evaluating the Potential of Input Vouchers (Fertilizer and Seed) as a Mechanism for Integrating the non-Commercial and Commercial Inputs Markets – FANRPAN research has established that two (2) parallel inputs distribution channels exist in most SADC member states: (a) non-commercial distribution through farmer support programmes, and (2) commercial distribution through the retail networks of private sector companies. FANRPAN has proposed the use “input Vouchers” - for both fertilizer and seed - as a mechanism for integrating the commercial and noncommercial inputs channels as a way of promoting the growth of the private sector companies, as well as, improving access and choice by farmers. Inputs vouchers can be used by government and relief agencies to distribute purchasing power to farmers while private sector companies expand their retail networks to redeem these vouchers. The voucher system is being tested in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. The findings were presented at the dialogue and the delegates resolved that: (1) FANRPAN should continue to support the voucher study to enable conclusive results in assessing the sustainability of the voucher system; the exit strategy of vouchers and subsidies; and the linkage of vouchers/subsidies to agroforestry; and (2) FANRPAN should facilitate the publication of best practices emanating from this research.


  6. The Management and Impact of Technological Innovation and Adaptation: Addressing Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy Issues to Improve Food Security in SADC – this project aims to document a balanced view of the fundamental information needed to inform SADC’s regional Biosafety policy choices. The target countries are Malawi, Mauritius and South Africa. The delegates resolved that FANRPAN should; (1) facilitate further dialogue on issues of harmonisation of biosafety regulatory frameworks in the region; (2) build capacity in the region around biosafety; (3) improve institutional arrangements to facilitate adoption of biotechnology; and (4) spearhead biosafety projects e.g. through the FANRPAN website.


  7. FANRPAN: A network of networks - The country node (or the national network) will continue to be FANRPAN’s basic operational unit. All the 12 country nodes (country networks) resolved to intensify the sensitising of donors at national level to secure funding for node activities. They resolved to develop new business plans, aligned to the FANRPAN 8-year strategic plan, develop new demand-driven country node research agendas and prepare policy advisory notes from studies conducted. They resolved to intensify collaboration among researchers from different country nodes, participate more in current national level policy formulation and proactively engage government around the policy research agendas. They resolved to organise more national dialogues and show case both complete and on-going policy research in order to secure government funding. They committed to assisting the FANRPAN regional secretariat to finalise the MOU with SADC to enable the country nodes engage meaningfully with the SADC National Steering Committees and to enhance recognition of FANRPAN by the SADC country desks and potential donors. They resolved to create formal channels of communication with all line government ministries and organise training events to build the capacity of all FANRPAN stakeholders to engage effectively. They all committed to maintain and make further improvements on all commitments undertaken in the May 2007 stakeholder consultation, and to update national directories and strengthen linkages will all major national stakeholders. They all committed to fostering node-to-node linkages and to market the Household Assets Vulnerability Assessment (HAVA), previously Househould Vulnerability Index (HVI), widely to other national stakeholders. They all committed to ensuring that all node hosting institutions finalise MOUs with the FANRPAN Secretariat. The individual country nodes all made specific individual commitments based on their various country contexts.


  8. FANRPAN: A 5-stakeholder network: The five (5) stakeholder groupings that constitute FANRPAN made specific recommendations and resolutions towards their own strengthening and involvement. Government representatives committed to increase formative and supportive activities. They pointed out that formal requests for government support to FANRPAN had not yet been made, but were confident that governments would be supportive. They committed to assisting in the formulation of node work plans; and pointed out that governments are committed to supporting FANRPAN, provided national nodes present and implement clear programmes. Researchers, both old and new to FANRPAN, committed to being a vibrant part of FANRPAN country nodes and assist in identifying new researchable issues that are in line with the FANRPAN research agenda. They committed to assisting in resource mobilisation for FANRPAN and its node activities, as well as, improving the preparation of policy briefs and advisory notes for policy makers. Private sector representatives resolved to improve communication linkages with partners; use existing wealthy private sector networks to marshal resources for FANRPAN; and develop linkages with research institutions in a bid to have practical research outputs generated. Farmers’ representatives resolved to advocate for capacity building for farmers and farmers’ organisations to enable them to influence policy decisions in government in all its operations. Media representatives, an emerging new stakeholder group, resolved to establish a network in each country for journalists to exchange information on FANRPAN activities; endeavor to understand the technical language of researchers in order to work together; and improve their writing skills for reporting on policy issues.


  9. Strategic partners - several development partners have indicated commitment to provide strategic support to FANRPAN over the next 12 months. FANRPAN has already submitted a proposal to SIDA and got some positive response. The proposal is covering 5 years. SIDA is keen to support FANRPAN. The Norwegian Embassy indicated that it was their first time to be involved with FANRPAN but NEPAD has been involved with FANRPAN. They are keen to accompany FANRPAN’s activities. FAO indicated that it was their first time to be involved in FANRPAN meetings. They promised to share the results of their commissioned studies with FANRPAN. FARA is interested in advocacy and networking and is committed to signing a MoU with FANRPAN and support the strengthening of node institutions. CTA will support FANRPAN for the next 2 years. The new research partnerships that FANRPAN has entered into with ICRAF, GECAFS and COMPETE also represent a new resource mobilisation strategy.


  10. Some other generic commitments and recommendations emerged from the dialogue. FANRPAN committed to reporting back to the Ministers of Agriculture for SADC and COMESA and to producing policy briefs, immediately, to explain its new strategic direction for policy dialogue in the region. FANRPAN committed to mobilising resources intensively over next months to ensure that programme implementation commences in April 2008. The meeting observed the need to increase the visibility of gender issues and the role of youth in agriculture, in the strategic plan, and recommended that two of the three remaining board positions to be filled by women to ensure gender balance. The AGM also emphasised that the main business of the board should be to provide strategic direction to FANRPAN. It was agreed that an update on progress made on resource mobilisation, funded programmes, and a revised business plan to be presented at the next AGM and the next AGM will be held the first week of September 2008.
I thank you all for making the 2007 FANRPAN dialogue such a big success.

Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda,
CEO, FANRPAN

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