African Civil Society and Development Engage On Solutions for Food Security

The Southern Africa Trust, Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) and Graça Machel Trust invite members of the media and general public to join the Society Talks webinar. This is a public webinar series launched by Southern Africa Trust as a platform to inform, engage and develop solutions that address Food Insecurity emergencies that have been accentuated through COVID-19 crisis. More than 60% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa are smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women. The agriculture sector contributes about 23% percent of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP. FAO estimates that more than half (73 million) of the 135 million people in the world today that are facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity live in Africa. Countries in Southern Africa are facing chronic food and nutrition insecurity, and this is expected to be exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and COVID-19 pandemic and. Border closures, quarantines, and market, supply chain and trade disruptions are restricting people's access to sufficient, diverse and nutritious sources of food. Amongst the vulnerable groups most affected by the pandemic are small-scale farmers, who are hindered from working their land, caring for their livestock, or fishing. They also face challenges accessing markets to sell their products or buy essential inputs, or struggle due to higher food prices and limited purchasing power. Informal labourers have been hardest hit by job and income losses in harvesting and processing. Millions of children are already missing out on the school meals they have come to rely upon, as many of them have no formal access to social protection, including health insurance. Women are most affected by the pandemic in this regard, as they are the backbone of African agriculture. Widely cited figures indicate that they produce 80% of the continent's food, contribute 60 - 80% of the labour force in agriculture, and spend up to 60% of their time on agricultural activities. The webinar will consider challenges specifically confronting smallholder farmers, particularly women in agribusiness in Southern Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and key policy interventions required for SADC to address the challenges. Date: Wednesday 29 July 2020 Time: 16h00 - 17h30 Topic: COVID-19 Impact on SADC Food Systems and Smallholder Agriculture, and Policy Options for a Women-inclusive Response Channel: Southern Africa Trust YouTube channel<https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxgyETIYjz_5TSZt5TFuGaA&g t;

Moderator: Bronwyn Nielsen: Advisory Board Chair, Women in Media Network Speaker: Mrs Graça Machel: Founder, Graça Machel Trust; Chair, Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS)

Panellists 1. Domingos Gove: SADC Food, Agriculture & Natural Resources Directorate

2. Ruth Hall: Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)

3. Elizabeth Swai: African Women in Agri-business

It is through the collaborative structure of the platform that participants are able to engage in Q&A. To date, panellists have included thought leaders, researchers and subject matter experts in the policy as well as development sector across Southern Africa. These include Dr Tshilidzi Madzivhandila of FANRPAN, Andrew Odero of World Food Programme (WFP), Nancy Kachingwe and Isobel Frye of Inequality and Poverty Institute.

ENDS

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