Dr Madzivhandila’s opening speech at FANRPAN Annual Regional Policy Dialogue

The three-day Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Annual Regional Policy Dialogue is under way. The dialogue is taking place virtually due to Covid-19 regulations that are still in force in several countries.

Opening the dialogue, FANRPAN CEO/Head of Mission Dr Tshilidzi Madzivhandila started by welcoming all to the virtual platform.

He said since the year 2001, FANRPAN has been convening its annual multi-stakeholder policy dialogues.

“The year 2020 is not the same with other years because of the COVID 19 pandemic. If anything, the outbreak has built some resilience in us. “Without it, we would not have embraced this remote way of working. “For as long as the transformation of continental agriculture and food systems remains outstanding, this ‘new normal’ has become FANRPAN’s default position in our effort to fulfill one of the endowments of our mandate, that is, convening multi-stakeholder policy dialogues around the key challenges in the food, agriculture and natural resources sector,” said Dr Madzivhandila.

He stated that the dialogue focuses on key challenges to agriculture and food systems.

“Today is the first of three sessions, we tackle the issue of Climate Change and its impacts – and look at practical interventions to build resilience.

“We are aware of the predominantly smallholder nature of the continent’s agriculture sector, and the fact that they are responsible for producing the bulk of the food that we eat. We also know of the various interventions that have been piloted, tried and tested to build the resilience of smallholder farmers against climate change. But it has stopped there,” said Dr Madzivhandila.

He added: “We need to move forward, to scale up and out all the successful models, albeit in a coordinated fashion. Therein lies the role of FANRPAN as a network. We need to build a common appreciation of the climate challenge, to enable us to forge a consolidated approach for maximum impact.”

Dr Madzivhandila said that FANRPAN have dedicated its second session on day two to the Agriculture – Nutrition nexus.

The state of nutrition is a continental challenge whose targets are proving to be unachievable at the current rate of intervention.

“From the 2nd Malabo Biennial Review Report, our national scorecards are not flattering. We need to develop and entrench in our approaches, pathways that will ensure that agriculture delivers positive nutrition outcomes.

“We need solutions and strategies along the whole agriculture value chain. That can happen only if nutrition is treated as a key outcome of the agriculture endeavor. And like everything else, a coordinated and multi-sectoral approach is imperative.”

He reiterated that capacity strengthening is an important part of the continent’s agriculture and food systems transformative agenda. Therefore, Capacity Strengthening is the focus of day three session.

“On one end, we are fortunate to be living in an era where our performance is measured. The Biennial Review mechanism lays bare our glaring capacity gaps. Twice, we have received our national report cards, and for both instances and equally concerning, the majority of our member states have remained in the ‘remedial group’, without any sign of improvement. It must be noted that the exceptional performance of a few outliers will not guarantee the attainment of continental development targets. There is need for a renewed sense of urgency, for concerted efforts at implementing corrective actions at national levels, if we are to record some meaningful improvement at continental level. This effort requires a structured and collective approach by all stakeholders,” he said.

In conclusion, he said that at FANRPAN, they believe in multi-stakeholder and participatory approaches. “To that end, I welcome you all to this platform, and wish us all fruitful deliberations and outcomes.”

Date: 
Tuesday, October 20, 2020