The 2018 High Level Policy Dialogue on Transforming Africa’s Agriculture was held from the 20th to the 22nd of November in Maputo, Mozambique. The Dialogue was a collaborative effort of four organizations – the Mandela Institute or Development Studies (MINDS), the Food, Agriculture and Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), the Graça Machel Trust (GMT), and Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) together with local, regional, and global partners. The dialogue made recommendations aimed at ensuring a food and nutrition secure African continent based on active and meaningful engagement of women and youth along agriculture value chains.
The delegates identified seven key recommendations that can transform African agriculture. These include that every stakeholder plays a role in transforming agriculture, and not leave this to donors or civil society alone. They emphasisedthe need to develop robust solutions to address the prevailing challenge of climate change, as well as increasing production and productivity of smallholder farmers to meet the increasing demand for food whilst also addressing the challenges they face in accessing markets. The need to identify ways of getting more women and the youth participating along agriculture value chains was identified as critical, as was use of technology as smallholder African agriculture continues to largely depend on archaic rudimentary implements like the hand hoe.
Speaking at the closing of the Regional Dialogue, Mrs. Graça Machel said there is need to create opportunities from the challenges facing African smallholder agriculture. “Let’s define the things we need to transform, and who is responsible for this transformation, what they need to do, as well as ask how we should hold each other accountable.”
In response to the challenge, the FANRPAN, MINDS, GMT and CCARDESA, together with their collaborating partners, agreed to develop and implement a joint legacy project aimed at fundamentally transforming the lives of women, children and youth in two districts in Mozambique with high rates of stunting.
A total of 192 delegates from 21 countries attended the Policy Dialogue. The delegates represented governments;intergovernmental organisations; civil society; research institutions; private sector; farmer organisations; and donors. Of those represented, 21% were youth and 40% women. The 2018 Regional Policy Dialogue was anchored several sub themes, including: nutrition and food systems; climate resilient agriculture; policies to transform African agriculture; and women and youth agri-preneurship.
By Ian Mashingaidze, MINDS Programmes Director