There are no simple answers to the questions on food, nutrition, rural development, poverty, and values in Africa. Data always seems incomplete and strategies have thus far proved largely inefficient to address challenges pertaining to these issues. Covid-19, and the accompanying lockdowns have pulled an even thicker veil over the continent. Important to note, specific for South Africans to hear, South Africa is part of this continent. 

“Building Back Better(BBB”) after the lockdowns, requires a paradigm shift on agriculture. No other sector can create more wealth on a broader basis sooner than agriculture can, but it needs the will and a well-coordinated effort to get it going. Agri All Africa (AaA), a partnership-based platform focussing on local projects to modernise, mechanise and commercialise agriculture in Africa, is hosting a webinar on this topic on Thursday, 9 July 2020. This webinar will highlight the lock-down realities and potential opportunities that should receive attention due their post lock-down potential impact. 

The scene setting of the webinar will be provided by a pre-webinar information clip.  `In this clip, Dr Tobias Doyer of SANLAM, the Webinar chairperson, will be setting the scene of how to prepare to obtain optimum results from the webinar. Mr John Rocha of the SA Department of Trade and Industry (Dti) will provide a statistical picture of what has happened in the economies of the World, with more focus on SA and Southern Africa and paint a picture of how big the backlog has become since the start of COVID-19 and the fact that it is far from over. Mr André Botha of African Agricultural Productions will give a Farmer’s and Agricultural Project’s perspective on what issues COVID-19 has dragged into the playing field. The pre-session will hopefully assist in coming to grips with the implications of where we find ourselves currently. 

This we need to understand impacting issues and factors that will influence BBB strategies and - policies. One of those is to understand the commercial ambition of small holder farming, which still forms the foundation of agricultural production in Africa. Innovative new approaches, products and programs from organisations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and value adding by The World Farmers Organisation (WFO) as well as our own regional organisations in Africa like the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) will be needed to get major implementation impact. Then of course we need to address the single biggest obstacle to unlocking the potential wealth from farming: financing in the small holder sector. Lastly it is important to understand that farmers need to get a grip on the value-chain. It emphasises the imperative of getting family farms in cooperatives, which must serve as a mechanism to create the benefit of scale and enhance the profitability and sustainability of smaller family farmers.

Given the wide interest in the theme: “Building back better, reimagining agriculture after lockdown” - the new normal will take us back to the basics and will need a clear understanding which paradigms (if not almost all) need to be shifted. Several international and local experts are to introduce the issues connected to our theme which will be shared on our website. It will also provide for a registration platform for the webinar. Acquainting oneself with the pre-information package we are also inviting local and international experts to lift the lid off each of these topics with a short 6-minute introduction. Afterwards there will be time will be given for questions, answers, and discussion. 

They will inter alia address the following topics: 

  • Introduction - Dr Tobias Doyer, as the Chairman and Webinar Panel Approach, Dr Theo De Jager, the Moderator,

  • COVID-19 - Threats and Realities from an Agricultural Perspective - Dr John Purchase, the CEO of Agbiz,

  • “Building Back Better – after Covid – 19 lockdowns: A perspective for small holder farmers, Mr Ishmael Sunga, the CEO of SACAU),

  • From the Hand-hoe to Digital ambition during and post COVID-19, Prof Sidi Osho of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Network for Africa (FANRPAN,

  • Getting a grip on the value chain: the imperative of organising family farms in cooperatives, Dr Kees Blokland of Agriterra,

Dr Theo de Jager, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of AaA and the current President of the WFO and Chairman of the Southern African Agricultural Initiative (SAAI), will moderate the discussion. De Jager will conclude with a summary from the most important inputs. Thereafter the panel (pre-and during the Webinar), will be available to answer questions as managed by the Webinar Chair. Possible for some questions to be answered electronically, should the time run out. 

Dirk Hanekom of AaA to close the event and give his view on can be expected from AaA in future.

Compiled by AaA npc July 2020


Dirk Hanekom/Marianna du Plessis/Theo de Jager

Thursday, July 9, 2020