SADC Secretariat | Gaborone | Botswana
The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) represented by Dr. Njongenhle Nyoni, Project Officer, and Oxfam Southern Africa (Oxfam SAF) represented by Ms. Chimbala Yoyo, met with Director of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR), Mr. Domingos Gove, Senior Programme Officer, Mr. Duncan Samikwa and Mr. Esaiah Tjelele of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat to discuss key issues affecting the functioning of agricultural markets and strategies of transformation in the region.
The FANRPAN/Oxfam project on ‘Creating an enabling environment to transform agriculture markets for the smallholder farming households’ formed the basis of engagement. In general, evidence generated from the project reveals that the main factors hampering the positive effects of agricultural markets in the region are:
• low adoption of high yield-enhancing technologies, which leads to generally low farm-level productivity;
• low quality and standard of the produced commodities, limiting farmers access to local, regional and international markets;
• very high transaction costs influenced by limited infrastructure and poor access to information along the value chain; and
• Frequent bans on the export of surplus maize, which have not brought incentives for players in the maize sector to invest for further growth.
Mr. Domingos Gove explained that the FANR Directorate’s work is guided by the Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (RAIP) with four (4) key objectives, of which Objective 2 of the RAIP is to ‘Increase access to market access.’ He further emphasized the significance of fostering intra-regional trade and transforming market systems in the region, taking advantage of the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with a special focus on the inclusion of smallholder farmers. Further, an invitation was extended to FANRPAN and Oxfam to present the project findings during SADC Technical Committee meetings, to facilitate inclusion of this initiative into the SADC FANR Work Plan. This partnership presents a very important opportunity of influencing evidence-based decision makingto transform agricultural market systems and enhance intra-regional trade in the region.