The SADC Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture participated in a joint meeting through video-conferencing on 7 May 2021, to review progress in the implementation of the SADC relevant sectoral programmes, projects and related strategies under the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP), in line with the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2020-2030).
The joint meeting, chaired by the Minister of Seas, Inland Waters and Fisheries of the Republic of Mozambique, Ms Augusta de Fátima Charifo Maita, was attended by 92 delegates from the 14 Member States, namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo pointed out that despite the prospects of improved food and nutrition security for the just commenced marketing year, the region is still experiencing negative effects of climate change experienced during the past few seasons and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As for Minister Augusta de Fátima Charifo Maita, she congratulated the Member States for their efforts in promoting agricultural production and productivity, despite the challenges created by adverse climatic conditions, in the past cropping seasons, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also highlighted important regional strategies that are key to enable agriculture production in the region, including the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), the RAP, the Livestock and Crop Development Programmes, the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Strategy, and Regional Aquaculture Strategy. She encouraged all Member States to actively implement the RAP and the Protocol of Fisheries to ensure agricultural transformation and achieve food and nutrition security in the region.
During the joint meeting, the Ministers noted with concern, the high numbers of food and nutritionally insecure people in the region (50.8 million) and urged Member States to continue implementing and domesticating the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy in National Food and Nutrition Strategies in order to improve food and nutrition security.
They encouraged Member States to attend and actively participate at the upcoming United Nations Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021 which is intended to transform global food systems. They also urged Member States strengthen and expand coverage of social protection and safety-nets programmes so as to increase period of consumption, reduce malnutrition, reduce post-harvest losses and create employment
The Ministers commended the positive development trajectory witnessed in the area of fisheries and aquaculture which now employs approximately 3 million people in the region and contributes about 9% of the region's agriculture GDP.
The Ministers approved the regional strategies for the management of transboundary pests and diseases including Regional Strategy for Management of Fruit Flies, Fall Armyworm, and Tuta absoluta. They also approved the SADC Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance Control and the SADC Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Strategy, as well as Guidelines on the Operations of the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre and directed that conservation of crop wild relatives be included among the responsibilities of National Plant Genetic Resources Centres.