Items filtered by date: Monday, 02 May 2022





14:00 - 14:10

Remarks by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on FANR

Hon Leon Andre Tumba, Chairperson

14:10 - 14:55

Session I

Presentation on Agroecology as a Sustainable Response to Climate Change: International and Regional Evidence:

·        ActionAid  - [15 min]

·        ESAFF – agroecology from the perspective of the smallholder farmer [15 min]

·        CCARDESA - research on agroecology [15 min]



Presenter One


Presenter Two


Presenter Three


14:55 - 15:25

Committee’s Interactive Dialogue on Presentations


15:25 – 15:45



15:45 - 16:15

Session II

Presentation on Agroecology in Southern Africa: Programmes and Investment:

·            Regional and national investment in agroecology – gaps and opportunities [15 min]

·            FAO - programming and support agroecology in southern Africa (and good practice from other regions) [15 min]


Presenter One

Mr Martin Muchero



Presenter Two


16:15 - 16:45

Committee’s Interactive Dialogue on Presentations


16:45 - 17:00

Closing Remarks by the TIFI Chairperson

Hon Anele Ndebele, Chairperson




Programme- Joint Meeting FANR and TIFI

  • Background

The effects of climate change - persistent drought, flooding and pests – compounded by economic challenges, poverty, conflict, gender disparities, and gaps in social accountability, have all contributed to the SADC region’s food security crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has reduced incomes and disrupted supply chains, further exacerbating poverty in the region. According to the SADC Synthesis Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in the Southern Region, released in July 2021, up to 47.6 million people (approx. 13% of total population) in the SADC region are food insecure. While many Member States experienced a bumper maize harvest in 2021, the above-average rainfall was coupled with a destructive cyclone season. In the ten SADC Member States that submitted data, an estimated 47.6 million people are food insecure, a 5.5% increase from 2020 and 34.3% above the 5-year average.[1]

Smallholder farmers, who produce most of SADC’s food, have been impacted by the effects of Covid-19, including lower household incomes, limited access to inputs (seeds, fertilisers) and lack of extension services to combat the ongoing threat of pests and diseases. In particular, the pandemic has affected multiple aspects of the lives of women smallholder farmers, who supply about 50% of total agricultural labour in Sub-Saharan Africa, from undermining their food security and eroding their savings, to increasing their unpaid care workload and heightening their risk of gender-based violence.[2]

In 2003, African Union (AU) member states signed the Maputo Declaration, which committed to increasing agricultural budget allocations to 10%, pursuing agricultural growth of 6%, and to setting up the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).[3] Soon after, SADC member states signed the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration in 2004, which established priority areas for achieving food security, including short-term approaches such as ensuring access to quality seeds, fertilisers, and agrochemicals.[4] Additional regional instruments followed, guiding both regional and national actions: Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) 2013; Regional Agricultural Investment Plan (RAIP) 2017-2022; SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (FNSS) 2015-2025; and SADC Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (CCSAP) and Strategy, 2015 – 2030.

According to the African Centre for Biodiversity, however, practices that emanate from CAADP which have been implemented by African governments, such as input subsidies through farm input subsidy programmes (FISPs), have not always had the desired effect.[5] While international, continental and regional (SADC) commitments promote support for smallholder farmers as a key strategy for achieving household food security, agricultural policy making in the region has failed to adequately respond to the needs of smallholder farmers.

Instead, large portions of national budgets are directed towards FISPs by providing subsidies that reduce the price of fertiliser and seed (usually hybrid maize). Aside from providing a partial economic safety net, the subsidies have been found to not directly benefit the poor and most vulnerable, who are mostly women. Instead, the FISPs have led smallholder farmers to direct scarce resources towards hybrid maize production, effectively reducing the diversity of food available.[6] In a 2021 global report, the FAO acknowledges that current agricultural support “is biased towards measures that are harmful and unsustainable for nature, climate, nutrition and health, while disadvantaging women and other smallholder farmers in the sector.” FAO advocates that by “repurposing agricultural producer support, governments can optimize scarce public resources to support food systems in ways that make them not only more efficient, but also more supportive of healthy lives, nature and climate. This can also be an opportunity to achieve a strong economic recovery in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world.”[7]

With the effects of climate change causing droughts and flooding throughout the SADC region, the need for long-term measures to reduce the impact of climate shocks and build the capacity of communities and countries to withstand them have become even more urgent. Covid-19 has further highlighted the need to support local, sustainably produced food with shorter value chains to ensure countries are resilient, even in the face of disasters.

  • The Potential Role of Agroecology

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) in the United Nations (UN) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) recently defined agroecology as follows:

“Agroecological approaches favour the use of natural processes, limit the use of purchased inputs, promote closed cycles with minimal negative externalities and stress the importance of local knowledge and participatory processes that develop knowledge and practice through experience, as well as more conventional scientific methods, and address social inequalities. Agroecological approaches recognize that agri-food systems are coupled social–ecological systems from food production to consumption and involve science, practice and a social movement, as well as their holistic integration, to address [food and nutritional security].”[8]

Among the key benefits of agroecology, include:

  • Year-round access to healthy, fresh, diverse and culturally-appropriate food for local populations;
  • Reduced poverty and a key contribution to the realization of the right to adequate food and nutrition;
  • Increased climate resilience and reduced greenhouse gasses (GHG) emission;
  • Empowerment of women and reduced workload burden;
  • Diversified livelihoods and valued local, tribal and indigenous knowledge and culture;
  • Improved health through reduced exposure to harmful agrochemicals;
  • More resilient ecosystems, healthier soils and improved water management;
  • Lower costs, less debt and greater autonomy;
  • Enhanced stewardship of seeds, crops, biodiversity, forests and natural resources.[9]

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) have highlighted the key role for agroecology in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[10] The FAO has recognised it as a “promising option to implement the Paris Agreement,” as it addresses climate change adaptation and mitigation simultaneously.[11] Recent reports by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES),[12] the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate (IPCC),[13] and the HLPE,[14] all urge support for agroecological systems for smallholder farmers, as opposed to high external input industrial systems, and indicate these can be highly productive, highly sustainable, empower women, create jobs, engage youth, provide greater autonomy, climate resilience, and multiple social, cultural and environmental benefits for women and men in rural and urban communities.

Increasingly, evidence is showing that peasant-based agroecological systems have clear advantages over high external input industrial agriculture. While, historically, there has been a gap between the yields of conventional (high-external-input) agriculture and organic farming, this gap has often been overstated, especially when considering: a) the strong performance of highly developed agroecological farming systems; b) that agroecology produces high yields (especially over time) of a variety of crops, while also generating additional social and environmental benefits. A growing body of research indicates that when appropriately supported and in the right economic conditions, agroecology can outperform conventional systems of agricultural production, especially in dryland areas but also in many other contexts, for example[15] A recent meta-analysis found that alternative agriculture increased yields in 61% of the studies when compared to conventional agriculture, with 20 percent showing no difference.[16] Additionally, the diversification practices used in agroecological practices can reduce or eliminate any yield gap between organic and conventional agriculture.[17]

Despite the urgency and clear benefits of adopting agroecological approaches towards the transformation of food systems, the quality and quantity of finance for agricultural research and development, and food security is woefully inadequate. Globally, there is a shortfall in funding for sustainable food systems, and very little of that is allocated to smallholder farmers. Additionally, almost all of that funding is allocated to encouraging farmers to adopt detrimental forms of high-energy, high-input industrial agriculture. Agroecological approaches are clearly marginalised in existing funding streams, and when they are supported it is often done in unhelpful and even damaging ways.[18]

In its policy brief Agroecology: Scaling Up, Scaling Out,[19] ActionAid identifies key barriers that need to be challenged and seven key steps required to achieve agroecology at scale: ideological barriers, international trade and export orientation, marginalisation of women, monopoly seed laws, lack of agricultural research and development on agroecology and concentration of power amongst agribusiness trans-national coroporations (TNCs).

3.0    What SADC PF and National Parliaments can do

National parliaments play an important oversight role in informing and interrogating the use of national budgetary allocations and foreign contributions towards agricultural development and climate change adaptation.

Already between 2018 and 2021, SADC PF FANR Standing Committee members have considered and acted on issues related to the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security. Among the actions were:

  • Successfully proposing a motion at the SADC PF Plenary Assembly in December 2018 urging SADC Member States to accelerate the implementation of the Malabo Declaration, with a focus on improving social accountability in agricultural services for smallholder farmers.
  • Passing resolutions in 2020 and 2021 calling on governments and donors to strengthen resilience to buffer ever-increasing climatic shocks, and to challenge the current intensive industrial model of agriculture being supported across the region.

Outside SADC, the Caribbean to the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (PARLATINO) is in the process of developing a Model Law on Agroecology, informed by newly developed FAO guidelines on the development of legal frameworks to promote agroecology in the Latin American and Caribbean region.[20]

  • Objectives of the FANR/TIFI Standing Committee Joint Meeting


The FANR/TIFI Standing Committee meeting will specifically seek to achieve the following objectives:

  • Review evidence on the potential of agroecological approaches to ensure sustainable and productive agricultural development in the southern African region.
  • Assess the level of national and regional investment in SADC on agroecological approaches, and potential opportunities to increase this investment.
  • Reflect on national parliament and SADC PF interventions that could contribute towards expanding investment in agroecology in the SADC region.
  • Participants and resource persons

The session will draw upon the expertise of resource people from ActionAid, Eastern and Southern Africa Small-Scale Farmers’ Forum, the UN Food and FAO, and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA). A panel of experienced resource persons will make presentations, followed by an interactive session focusing on possible policy interventions that could be made by SADC PF and national parliaments.



Concept Note for FANR and TIFI Meeting


[1] SADC Synthesis report on the state of food and nutrition security and vulnerability in Southern Africa: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Synthesis-Report-2021_English.pdf

[2] FAO SOFA Team & Cheryl Doss, (2011). The Role of Women in Agriculture’ ESA Working Paper No. 11-02, FAO. http://www.fao.org/sustainable-food-value-chains/library/details/en/c/265584/; FAO, (2011), 2010-2011 The State of Food and Agriculture. Women in Agriculture: Closing the gender gap for development. http://www.fao.org/publications/sofa/2010-11/en/; ActionAid, (2020), Covid-19 Food Crisis: Monitoring research. https://actionaid.org/publications/2020/covid-19-food-crisis-monitoring-research

[3] For the Maputo Declaration, see: https://bit.ly/2PQ4EhX

[4] For Dar-es-Salaam Declaration, see: https://bit.ly/2EzVRPc

[5] African Centre for Biodiversity (2016). Farm Input Subsidy Programmes (FISPs): A Benefit for, or the Betrayal of, SADC’s Small-Scale Farmers? https://www.acbio.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Input-Subsidies-Report-ACBio.pdf

[6] African Centre for Biodiversity (2016). Ibid; PSA Alliance (2019) PSA Policy Brief on Social Accountability

of FISPs in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. http://www.copsam.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SAfAIDS_PSA_PolicyBrief_FISPs_FINAL.pdf

[7] FAO, UNDP and UNEP (2021), =;l https://doi.org/10.4060/cb6562en

[8] HLPE (2019), Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. A report by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome. http://www.fao.org/3/ca5602en/ca5602en.pdf

[9] ActionAid International (2018), Agroecology: Scaling up, scaling out. https://actionaid.org/publications/2018/agroecology-scaling-scaling-out.

[10] IFAD (December 2019), How agroecology can respond to a changing climate and benefit farmers. https://www.ifad.org/en/web/latest/story/asset/41485825 ; FAO (2018), FAO’s work on agroecology: a pathway to the SDGs. http://www.fao.org/3/I9021EN/i9021en.pdf.

[11] FAO (2018). Ibid.

[12] IPBES (2019), Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. https://www.ipbes.net/system/tdf/ipbes_7_10_add.1_en_1.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=35329.

[13] IPCC (2019), IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse gas fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/Fullreport-1.pdf.

[14] HLPE (2019).

[15] ActionAid (2021 – to be published), Shifting Funding to Agroecology for People, Climate and Nature. Written by Colin Anderson and Janneke Bruil;  Pretty, J.N., Morison, J.I.L., Hine, R.E. (2003), Reducing food poverty by increasing agricultural sustainability in developing countries. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 95, 217-234. 10.1016/s0167-8809(02)00087-7; Ponisio, L.C., M'Gonigle, L.K., Mace, K.C., Palomino, J., de Valpine, P., Kremen, C. (2015). Diversification practices reduce organic to conventional yield gap. Proc Biol Sci 282, 20141396. 10.1098/rspb.2014.1396.

[16] Alonso-Fradejas, A., Forero, L.F., Ortega-Espès, D., Drago, M.n., Chandrasekaran, K. (2020), Junk Agroecology. TNI, Friends of the Earth International, Crovevia. https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/38_foei_junk_agroecology_full_report_eng_lr_0.pdf

[17] Ponisio (2015).

[18] CIDSE (2021) Policy Briefing – Making Money Move for Agroecology: Transforming Development Aid to Support Agroecology. https://www.cidse.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/EN-Making-money-move-for-agroecology.pdf

[19] ActionAid (2018).

[20] FAO (2021), Legislation to promote agroecology in the Latin American and Caribbean region. https://www.fao.org/agroecology/database/detail/en/c/1438599/






Hon Members, distinguished participants,

Good afternoon

I am honoured to address you this afternoon as we come to the close of our session on ‘Expanding Investment in Agroecology in Southern Africa for Sustainable Development and Climate Adaptation.  Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you, Honourable Members, for sparing time to attend this meeting. I also thank you for applying yourselves fully and actively engaging with the resource persons on the important subject of investment in agriculture. This shows your desire and commitment to acquiring the requisite knowledge and skills to enable you contribute positively towards national and regional food security as well as climate adaptation.

To the Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, I commend you for convening this meeting.

Let me also offer special appreciation to our resource persons who were willing to share with us their vast knowledge and experience on the subject under consideration.

Honourable Members,

Having concluded all items on our agenda, I am happy to note that we have now gained a deeper understanding of what agroecology is and some of its advantages as compared to the conventional high input and industrialised agricultural system. I am also pleased that the presenters have not only highlighted the many regional and continental commitments towards the agriculture sector, but also the fact that funding to this sector should be adequate and sustainable. This was especially important for us as it will enable us, going forward, to work in our respective jurisdictions and in the context of our legislative mandate towards addressing the food security concerns in the region and our respective countries.

In view of the above, it is gratifying that this session has also reminded us of the important role that we should play to not only ensure increased budgetary allocation towards agroecology, but also promote private sector investment.

Further, I am particularly happy that during this meeting, we had an opportunity to explore how the draft SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management can be used to promote agroecology in our region. It now remains for each one of us to champion the case as advocates within our domestic jurisdictions for the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management once adopted by the Plenary Assembly.  In this regard, I must pay tribute to the Forum for the initiative of developing the Model Law.  Let us work hard so that the SADC Member States can develop domestic legislation that will enable us promote agroecology, especially through the enhancement of the relevant budgetary allocations.

Having said the above, it is now my singular honour to declare the

joint meeting of the SADC Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment officially closed.

I thank you

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  • Honourable Members of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Food Agriculture and Natural Resources;
  • The Secretary General of the SADC PF, Ms Boemo Sekgoma;
  • Ms Julie Middleton, Project Manager, Consortium for Partnership for Social Accountability;
  • Staff from the SADC PF Secretariat;
  • Our Distinguished Resource Persons;
  • Our Distinguished Participants; and
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.


Good afternoon Hon Members and Distinguished guests,

I am pleased to welcome you Honourable Members to this Joint Meeting of the SADC PF Standing Committees on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) and Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (FANR), which is being held under the theme, “Expanding Investment in Agroecology in Southern Africa for Sustainable Development and Climate Adaptation.”


Honourable Members, distinguished participants

Let me begin by stating that agriculture is the cornerstone of human society that provides not only food and nourishment but also employment for millions of people in the SADC region.  However, due to the rapidly evolving threats to food and farming systems as a result of climate shocks, it is becoming extremely difficult to be food secure as a region unless we adopt resilient agriculture processes.  I am sure that Hon Members can agree with me that the field of agroecology has not been given the primacy it deserves in the SADC region despite it being key in building sustainable food systems.  While most SADC Member States do appropriate from their national budgets specific funds towards the agriculture sector, this is not adequate.  Therefore, there is a need in our quest to promote agroecology in our region to make deliberate efforts to promote investments in agriculture in general and in particular in agroecology.

Arising from the foregoing, it is important to engage in discussions that encompass both themes of agriculture and investment.  Hence this meeting today that is bringing together two committees which are both critical to the subject under discussion.

Honourable Members, distinguished participants

You will agree with me that achieving food security in Southern Africa has remained an elusive goal to date. The SADC Synthesis Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in the Southern Region, reports that up to 47.6 million people, approximately 13 percent of the total population, in SADC region are food insecure.

Even without the effects of climate change, our agricultural systems are not meeting the demands of large numbers of people. Climate change and its effects such as persistent droughts, flooding and pests, coupled with economic challenges, poverty and conflict, have exerted more pressure on already stressed food systems, thereby contributing to the food security crisis in the region.

Further, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity directly and indirectly.  The direct impact is linked to farms and food businesses that had to close down due to the pandemic.  On the other hand, indirect impacts are linked to lockdowns, border closures and restricted transportation and movement imposed by Governments to curb the spread of the pandemic.  Small-scale farmers, who produce most of the SADC region’s food, have been negatively impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking from a gender perspective, it is also worth noting that with the emergence of the COVID-19, the burden of unpaid care work increased for women and girls. In instances were family members were affected by the virus, women had to refocus their attention to look after the children and provide care for the sick. The time spent on care could have been used on farming activities such as food production or selling of farm produce.

Honourable Members, distinguished participants

Given the foregoing, there is a need to adopt innovative approaches that are climate smart and more resilient to severe shocks such as pandemics.


As you may be aware, as a region, several commitments have been made both at continental and regional levels to enhance agriculture. However, failure to implement these commitments remains a huge hindrance to actualising our agriculture vision. In many countries, agroecology is being proposed as a method of not only promoting food security but also significantly contributing to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals as well as the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Honourable Members, distinguished participants

While agroecological systems draw on natural synergies and use locally-available resources, transitioning to this model entails some costs at the outset, and requires support. Meanwhile, smallholders, and particularly women, struggle to access the credit they would need to move beyond subsistence farming.  It is, therefore, imperative that investments that are channelled towards agriculture are accompanied by robust mechanisms to prevent any misuse of public resources and reach the intended beneficiaries, especially small-scale farmers.

In this regard, Honourable Members, we have a responsibility, both at national and regional level to ensure that we promote agroecological agricultural systems for sustainable food supply. Through our oversight function, we must interrogate our national budgets and foreign contributions to ensure that they are channeled towards agricultural development and climate change adaption. Further, we should provide effective checks and balances to the executive so that investment towards the sector yields the desired results.

Therefore, I am happy that this Joint meeting has been organised today so that we can interrogate these critical issues.


Honourable Members, distinguished participants

As I conclude, let me take this opportunity to thank our esteemed resource persons who have accepted to engage with us on this subject during our Committee session. I am positive that at the end of the meeting, we will all have a better understanding of agroecology and what we, as parliamentarians, need to do, both at national and regional level to promote agroecology for sustainable food systems. I, therefore, encourage Honourable Members to actively participate and engage our resource persons on these and any related issues in order for this session to be of maximum benefit to us and the SADC region as a whole.

With those few remarks, it is now my honour and privilege to declare this Joint meeting of the Standing Committees on FANR and TIFI officially opened.

I thank you


Opening remarks by the Chairperson of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Food Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Andrea Leon Tumba

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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC It is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Thirteen (14) parliaments representing over 3500 parliamentarians in the SADC region. Read More

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