Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Household and National food security in Southern Africa
Edited by Godfrey D Mudimu and Richard H Bernsten
University of Zimbabwe UZ/MSU Food Research in Southern Africa


In 1985 the University of Zimbabwe and Michigan State University initiated a Food Security Research Network for Southern Africa. The objectives of the network are to conduct research that informs policymakers about food security issues and to help strengthen the regional capacity for food policy analysis. The underlying premise of the network is that building excellence in research capacity for national policy analysis comes through experience. In practice, this requires a long-term commitment to analytical capacity building, consistency in funding, and constant interaction between researchers and policymakers.

The network has sponsored four annual conferences for network researchers, policymakers, SADCC officials, and representative of international and donor agencies. The aim of the conference is to share research findings, identify new research themes, and provide an opportunity for policy dialogue between regional researchers, policymakers, and government officials.

The 1988 conference brought together 110 participants who deliberated on 28 papers. In the Official Opening, Vice-Chancellor WJ. Kamba of the University of Zimbabwe highlighted the importance of including health-related issues as a component of food security; and Zimbabwe's Senior Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development B.T.G. Chidzero outlined policy reform priorities for Southern Africa. Subsequent sessions focused on SADCC's Food Security Programme, the Impact of Market Reform on Food Security, Food Security Policy Options, New Technology to Improve Food Security, Family Food Security Options in Low-Rainfall Areas, Expanding Agricultural Trade in the SADCC Region, Nutrition and Food Security, the Contribution of Small-Scale Rural Enterprises to Employment Generation and Food Security, and the Impact of Irrigation on Food Security.

A highlight of the 1988 conference was the participation of five nutritionists from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sweden, and the United States. The presence of the nutritionists stimulated formal and informal discussions on the food access side of the food security equation and drew attention to the need to initiate more research in this area.

A second highlight of the 1988 conference was the attention given to reducing barriers to expanded intraregional trade in the SADCC region. Results presented suggest that there appear to be substantial price and nonprice barriers to expanded trade. Nevertheless, there exist significant opportunities for expanding intraregional trade that can be realized through appropriate government initiatives.

This proceeding contains revised papers prepared under the sponsorship of the University of Zimbabwe/ Michigan State University Food Security Research Project Southern Africa and presented at the University of Zimbabwe's Fourth Annual Conference on Food Security Research in Southern Africa, held at the Holiday Inn, Harare, October 31- November 3, 1988.

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