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Focus on the Youth at FANRPAN Annual Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue in Swaziland
19 September 2011 - 23 September 2011


Engaging the youth in future agricultural developments in Africa will take centre stage at Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Annual Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue in Swaziland next week (www.fanrpan.org).

"The time is now to ensure that the youth are part of decisions about the future of agriculture in Africa – they are after all the generation that will have to ensure that the continent’s growing population is fed," says FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda.

"It is the responsibility of current leaders in agriculture to ensure the involvement of the youth in development– and that is what we plan to do."

The FANRPAN 2011 Food Security Policy Dialogue will discuss, among others, dominant and alternative viewpoints and recent empirical data about how young people engage with the agri-food sector in Africa as producers, processors, entrepreneurs, employees, consumers and citizens. It will also look at change in different components of the agri-food sector and its implications for young people and at alternative policy approaches to the development of the agri-food sector.

Over 300 international delegates are expected to attend the Regional Policy Dialogue taking place from 19 to 23 September. The meeting will be officially opened by Swaziland Prime Minister, Right Honourable, Dr Barnabas Dlamini. Case studies of innovative youth initiatives from countries like Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius will be presented.

Other presentations will include the role of the youth in markets for Africa’s green revolution and their role in safeguarding the continent’s natural resources and the environment. Other global youth initiatives will be explained in presentations by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the 4-H Council, the Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth, the Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network and the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Children and Youth Development Programme. The keynote speaker will be the Minister of Youth and Development in Swaziland, Hon Hlobsile Ndlovu.

Dr Sibanda says no dialogue about agriculture is relevant without discussing climate change. Civil society is committing to responsible increases in agricultural productivity through climate smart agriculture which includes proven techniques such as agro-forestry and conservation agriculture, that combine adaptation, mitigation, resilience and food security.

"African leaders in agriculture and indeed African Heads of State will have to take the global lead to bring together a climate deal that ensures food security. A CLIMATE DEAL WITH NO AGRICULTURE IS NO DEAL! It is of utmost importance that Africa puts climate-smart agriculture high on the political agenda" she says. "FANRPAN and its partners will work to ensure that one of the outcomes of the UNFCCC COP17, in Durban at the end of the year is a dedicated agriculture work programme. FANRPAN congratulates the Hon. Tina Joemat-Pettersson, South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who this week, convened an African Ministerial conference on Climate Smart Agriculture (http://www.nda.agric.za/index2011ClimateChange.htm) to ensure that Africa speaks with one voice at the forthcoming UNFCCC CoP17.

Every African country has exemplary policy success stories that can be scaled up for greater impact. This year the FANRPAN Board Chairman, Hon. Sindiso Ngwenya (COMESA Secretary-General) will present the FANRPAN awards for media, civil society policy movers and shakers and for food security policy leadership at the Swaziland dialogue.

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