By Hlengiwe Ndlovu | 2018-05-16
MEMBERS of the Swaziland National Agriculture Union (SNAU) were part of the delegates attending the SACAU conference in the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
SACAU is the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions.
Held under the theme, ‘trade as a driver for agricultural transformation in Southern Africa’, the conference brought together the top leadership of national farmers’ organisations, policymakers, agribusiness leaders, development partners and other stakeholders from the Southern African region and beyond. Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the guest speaker in this event.
“This year’s conference theme is primarily motivated by Africa’s natural resource endowment and the increasing global demand for food, fuel and fibre, which are essential elements for the transformation of the agricultural sector.
“While trade plays a critical link between markets and production, its performance in transforming the agricultural sector in the region has been less than satisfactory.
“Currently, there is an unequal balance of power between industrialised and developing countries, hence our countries have for a long time been reduced to suppliers of cheap raw materials and consumers of imported processed/manufactured products.
“In addition, our farmers are consigned to the high risk-low return type of agriculture, partly due to their limited appreciation and understanding of the complexity of the whole trade architecture and its requirements,” said SACAU’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ishmael Sunga.
The conference also discussed key concerns and issues around trade arrangements and practices.
It also identified and discussed key elements to consider in pursuing a trade-driven agricultural transformation agenda and creating an opportunity for farmer leaders in southern Africa to better understand the rules, regulations, and key processes (e.g. negotiations and dispute settlements) within which trade happens at global, continental and regional levels as well as in between countries.
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