Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience and adaptation, as well as contributes towards reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. It therefore leads to overall food security and nutrition in the face of climate change. Mrs Fotabong emphasised the importance of building capacity at all levels, especially for smallholder farmers and institutions in order to attain the goal of 25 million African farmers practising climate-smart agriculture by 2025.
Mamotseki Mahloko, a farmer specialising with seeds production, preferably white maize under the auspices of the Seeds And Market Project (SAMP) says her life transformed tremendously since she ventured into the industry in 2007. Mahloko is one of the women whose work aligns to the Malabo Declaration 2014 which pleads with women to use rural space as an engine for growth and transformation in terms of both a critical base for countries’ natural resources (land and water) and accommodating significant portion of the populations in general and farming (smallholder) populations, in particular women as key players in production of food through agriculture.
“Optimal solutions to problems in Africa are not at national but at a regional level, through continental strategic frameworks such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme,” NEPAD Agency CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said.
NEPAD - When African leaders and Heads of State met in June 2014, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, they adopted the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. The Malabo Declaration is framed around seven key commitments to transform African agriculture in the next decade.
The Declaration calls for concrete action to turn these commitments into action and results. In order to lay the groundwork for these actions, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency were charged with developing an implementation strategy and roadmap.
The draft implementation strategy and roadmap was discussed at a stakeholder validation meeting held on 17 and 18 November 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The validation Meeting was attended by representatives from AU member states and other stakeholders including Development Partners. The implementation strategy and roadmap will be presented to the African Union Executive Council Ordinary Session to be held in January 2015.
The Malabo Declaration is an AU recommitment to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), and Africa’s agricultural transformation and food security agenda in the 2015-2025 decade.
What is unique in the Malabo Declarations and Decisions is that, amongst others, there is the resolve and commitment to concrete action and delivering tangible results and impact. Furthermore, there is recognition of the “rural space” as an engine for growth and transformation. The rural space is deemed as a critical base for countries’ natural resources (land and water), as well as accommodating a significant portion of the African population in general and smallholder farming populations.
Women are also recognised as key players in delivering increased agricultural performance as well as ensuring that this transforms into impact on livelihoods. Youth are also a key asset and resource that Africa has for transformation of agriculture. Moreover, the role of the private sector is also seen as a critical success factor in delivering on implementation, with preferential focus on the domestic private sector.
In defining the kind of agriculture Africa wants, two key issues stand out: Aligning agriculture towards wealth creation objectives at both household and national level, and; aligning policy and investments to scale-up local agro-based industry and commerce, including entrepreneurship.
Farmers and experts in agriculture from Malawi and other African countries are next week expected to launch the inaugural session of Pan-African Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture (Paacsa) forum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. This comes hot on the heels of news that climate change remains a major threat, with the potential to not […
NEPAD CAADP's insight:
Africa’s Strategic Approach for Food Security & Nutrition in the Face of Climate Change
LAUNCH OF THE AFRICA CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE ALLIANCE
What: The first Africa Climate Smart-Agriculture Alliance Forum will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Africa CSA Alliance Forum will convene to foster harmonisation across various programmes being undertaken by African countries in climate change and agriculture.
BEREA- ‘Matiti Kabi, a young Mosotho woman who is the founder and president of Alosang Enterprise says her destiny in agri-business has not been an easy one as she met problems that would have stammered a less determined individual.
Kabi says she ventured into the field some 16 years ago driven by the passion to bring about a change in her life and lives of those around her but most importantly, to contribute significantly to Lesotho’s ailing economy.
She says she used to listen to radio programmes about tips in agriculture in all its spheres be it crops, poultry and many more.
However, this farmer who employs about 80 people (20 permanent staffers and 60 part-timers) told the Informative in an exclusive interview at her farm in Berea that she opted for agri-business because she wanted to counter the traditional practice of producing for consumption thus looked for land to make her dream a reality.
Meanwhile, the farmer said that she had entered into protected farming because she wanted to produce throughout the year to satisfy the local market which she said is booming.
“I could not have financial means to venture into this project. I had been tossed from pillar to post in search of funds where l knocked on almost every door soliciting funding,” she says.
Kabi said in her hard journey, she was informed of the Smallholder Agricultural Development Programme (SADP) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) that met her half way with some funds to help her buy two green houses.
“I had already saved some little money that was supplemented with the money from the SADP grant,” she said.
She was able to buy a farm big enough to help her venture into the project where she ploughs tomatoes, green peppers, cabbages, spinach and many other vegetables on the Berea plateau.
Having produced these vegetables, she had to look for a market to service hence she found herself hopping across some shops throughout the city.
“I had to be patient and to listen to what these shops really want from me so that they could buy my products. It was unbelievable when they contracted me to supply them with the products from my farm,” she said, adding that she also supplies some hotels in the city.
Kabi says at the beginning, they used to import seedlings from South Africa but today they buy locally since there are some Basotho who are able to produce them in bulk.
“We work hard to support local farmers,” she disclosed, adding that their goal is to eradicate poverty and change lives of the locals.
Kabi added that SADP did not only support her with grants but also with trainings geared towards empowering her in the agri-business sphere, saying that working with a committed staff has helped her reach her business tentacles.
Kabi further disclosed to this paper that she also packages her produce before taking them to the market according to the standards set by the retailers that she supplies.
There has been a worry for the local producers of agricultural products that big shops do not accept their produce.
However, the Regional Manager of Shoprite Checkers Pitso Melao says market is plenty in all their stores for Basotho farmers strongly appealing to Basotho to come and take money from their shops since it is there only waiting to be taken by those ready to satisfy the market demands.
“There is no difference between products produced in Lesotho and those from South Africa for as long as they are of a quality required,” he says, adding that they also work hard to eradicate poverty in the country.
He says they have had a long journey working with local farmers of various products where he says some bring eggs while others like Kabi supply vegetables.
However, Melao remains firm that all they need is the standardisation of products supplied by the farmers where he speaks strongly about the value supplied by the farmers coupled with safety of their customers who buy the products.
“We have to ensure that our customers would be safe after using our products,” he says. “We also want fresh products for our customers.”
“We want produce that is well and properly packaged and that has bar codes,” adds Melao.
He says it is untrue that they do not buy the local products.
For his part, Samuel Mphana, the General Manager of Pick’ n Pay in Lesotho says there is nothing that irritates his eyes than seeing vans and trucks full of cabbages from South Africa to Lesotho.
Like, Melao, Mphana says there is unlimited market of agricultural products in his store that is waiting for Basotho to grasp it.
“Poverty eradication and employment creations amongst Basotho nation are our goals,” says Mphana.
Kabi is setting an example of what the Malabo Declaration 2014 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) strives for, which is the empowerment of women in food production and ensuring that women are key players and actors in contributing to the delivery of increased agricultural performance as well as ensuring related impact on livelihoods.
SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Johannesburg SOME delegates at the just ended 11th CAADP annual meeting in Johannesburg have suggested that hunger and malnutrition in Africa can only be eliminated by 2025 through the promotion of local foods in various countries.
This year’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) partnership meeting is expected to take off this March, an important platform towards realising Africa agenda 2063.
To be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the CAADP is an annual milestone event which over the years has become a key forum bringing together players and stakeholders from various African institutions, governments, the private sector and the civil society, as well as development partners.
Organised by the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency,the 11th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) will take place in Gauteng Province, South Africa.
–Interview with Mrs Estherine Fotabong (NEPAD Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination)
Q: What does 2015, the African Union Year of Women’s Empowerment & Development mean for women - especially women in agriculture?
Heads of State are appreciative of NEPAD’s work in the area of climate change and women in agriculture. Choosing the theme for 2015 to focus on women and their empowerment is important.
I believe that in order for Africa to achieve its full potential in agriculture and development, women have to be supported, encouraged and empowered through favourable policies, platforms and various mechanisms. Smallholder farmers’ numbers show that at least 60 percent of them are women and 60 to 80 percent of the food in Africa produced is by them. Therefore it is only smart politics and smart economics to put women at the centre of development for the Continent.
Q: How best can women be helped to participate actively in farming and break away from cultural norms that inhibit their productivity?
Two years ago NEPAD had an elaborate consultative exercise with women smallholder farmers in a number of African countries, in order to hear from women farmers in rural areas. We already know most of the challenges faced by women in agriculture, such as access to credit, inputs and markets.
However, the issue of climate change has been coming up more and more. We found that the impact that climate change is having on women in agriculture is not theoretical, it is not something that you just read about. It is real. For example, change in weather patterns impact on when and how women plant and harvest their crops. So the focus now is on how to support women with knowledge and information, as well as adaption techniques.
The issue of cultural practices and traditions and their impact on women in agriculture affects women all across the continent, it is not region specific. This was confirmed in the NEPAD consultations with women farmers. For example, most women stated that they could not take decisions concerning their farms without consulting their spouses.
As we celebrate the Year of Women Empowerment and Development, we recognise African families and culture. The message for 2015 is therefore about inclusiveness - men and women working together and supporting one another to move together as families and as communities on the Continent as a whole. Hence we need supportive policies across the board that support women, be it in terms of accessing credit, land, receiving inputs or training in using inputs effectively for agriculture and so on.
Furthermore, some statistics show that if women were to receive a third of inputs that men receive, agricultural production in Africa would triple. Obviously that gap needs to be filled.
Q: In some African countries, women are still denied ownership of land and this contributes to their being unable to fully engage in agriculture. How can women be rescued from this difficult situation?
Good practices can be shared and adopted between countries. For instance in Ethiopia, it is becoming the norm for married couples to register land in both the wife’s and husband’s names. The joint registration of land means that should a woman’s husband die, she still remains the title holder and her claim to the land is not questioned. Good practices such as this one can perhaps be looked into by other countries.
Land is definitely a key input for agriculture, since without land, one cannot farm. But we are also looking into empowering women along the whole agricultural value chain – in production, processing, distribution, marketing and so forth. The focus in 2015 is for us to see women in agriculture fully engaged in agribusiness for job and income creation. This year as we celebrate women’s empowerment and development, the message is that it is not just about supporting women in farming, but the transformation of women’s agricultural activities from a subsistence level into viable businesses.
With regards the issue of culture, traditional leaders have a critical role to play. This level of leadership also needs to be sensitised on the fact that giving women access to land will only contribute to achieving food security, poverty reduction and the transformation of economies. In the next ten years of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, one area that needs more focus is engagement with traditional leaders, especially in the area of land ownership to empower women more.
Creating more platforms for dialogue at national level for women to participate in policy development is another key. NEPAD’s consultation with women farmers two years ago in the Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture Support Programme, saw women coming together with public authorities to discuss issues that they felt were important to them. In 2015, NEPAD will continue to support the creation of these platforms for women to voice their concerns and provide input in decisions that affect them.
Q: Mechanising farming has been known to be one of the game changers in accelerating Africa's food production and yet most women do not have easy access to machinery and adequate technologies. Why is this so?
If I could quote Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, “Hoes belong to the museum.” We need to move in the 21st century and do things differently if we hope to see more young people getting interested in agriculture. Therefore mechanisation and technology play an indispensable role. For women, one of their major challenges in agriculture is their heavy workload – taking care of households, children and farming takes toll on their lives. When it comes to mechanisation for agriculture, we have to consider that the majority of farmers are smallholders. In this context we have to look at appropriate technologies to specifically support smallholder women farmers.
The NEPAD Agency has entered into an alliance with five other organisations that work on the Continent in the area of Climate Smart Agriculture which also looks at bringing technologies to smallholder women farmers. Technologies are thus critical in supporting production, as well as in value addition in the transformation of primary products from farms, as the need has been expressed by women themselves.
As the African Union meets this week in Addis Ababa to put the spotlight on African women, the NEPAD / Spanish Fund visited one of its funded projects in Cameroon to see the impact of its work on the ground.
In the Manyu Division, South West in Cameroon, the NEPAD/Spanish has supported a women’s network called Efokhoyu with a first disbursement of funding amounting to 70,458 Euro. Efokhoyu raises awareness on sustainable land management issues of ERU leaves, also referred to as wild spinach.
The vegetable is often used for soups and stews, and is a very popular food staple in Cameroon. It is also known for its medical qualities to cure enlarged spleen, sore throat, nausea and is culturally believed to ease child birth.
President of EFOKHOYU Mrs Jane Tarkang explained that as a result of over exploitation and climate change, ERU is about to disappear in Cameroon’s forests. “Eru is the staple food of many Cameroonians and fast disappearing due to over harvesting and most of the times it is done unsustainably,” Mrs Tarkang said.
Through the support of the NEPAD/Spanish Fund, the women of the Efokhoyu network acquired four pilot farms of at least one hectare each in Okoyong, Ossing, Mbinjong, and Bache in the Manyu Division to plant and harvest Eru sustainably.
The project provided seedlings and training in modern farming techniques for increased yield and income for the women to help cover domestic costs such as utility bills and school fees.
A 295 women and 41 men have benefited from the training sessions organised by Efokhoyu within the Manyu Division so far.
For instance, Tanyi Victorine Mbinjong, a young women of 25 years, said that the ERU pilot farm is her only source of income and that she is now able to feed her family of five children and she can go back to school.
After attending a three-day training course, Mrs Eyoung was able to improve her Eru farming. Her plants produced more leaves after adding saw dust as advised during the training. She harvests the vine to feed her family but if she considered selling the vegetables, she would realise 12USD in a month from one single vine, she said.
George Mbiche is the only man trained in the Mbinjong village taking care of the propagators for the pilot farm seedlings. With the token of appreciation he receives from the job, he is able to provide for his wife and six children.
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