Dialogue: Stakeholder consultations are key to effective policy formulation and implementation

Many countries in the SADC region are beginning to involve stakeholders in the policy formulation and implementation process. Consultative forums are being created to provide a channel for information gathering, consensus building and a framework for broader understanding of agriculture and policy related issues. 

Effective policy analysis depends on the ability to identify and measure the impact of various economic options, to assess trade-offs, and to present well thought out choices to policy makers and managers. In order for policy researchers to synthesize and weigh various alternatives for solving complex problems in a dynamic environment with competing interests, and with a limited time span, there is need to engage the stakeholders in consultative dialogues. Policy advice must be founded on technical competence, practical insight and effective communication skills. Policy operates in a social, cultural, political and bureaucratic environment, which requires sensitivity and skills in public administration, negotiating techniques and consensus building.