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Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States validate roadmap to leverage sustainable agricultural mechanization for climate smart agriculture

FAO Regional Office for Africa
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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) hosted a regional workshop from 14-16 May 2024 to review and validate the draft Roadmap to Leverage Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Climate Smart Agriculture (SAM4CSA) in Southern Africa.

The workshop brought together representatives from Regional Economic Communities (SADC and COMESA), SADC Member States, FAO experts, development partners, farmer organizations and the private sector and saw progress of SADC Members in developing their own roadmaps, setting up a Regional Committee on Agricultural Mechanization (ReCAM) as well as National Committees on Agricultural Mechanization (NaCAMs).

In addition to reviewing the draft regional roadmap, the workshop also provided an opportunity for development partners, private sector and government representatives to identify entry points for investment in the regional roadmap.

“Specifically, there were three major outputs from the workshop: a refined and validated regional SAM4CSA roadmap, guidelines for the establishment of functional Regional and National Mechanization Committees and buy-in from stakeholders in the region on sustainable agricultural mechanization and climate smart agriculture (CSA),” said Josef Kienzle, FAO Agricultural Engineer.

“This is a special occasion because Southern Africa becomes the first subregion in Sub-Saharan Africa to adopt a subregion-wide programmatic approach to the implementation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa that was developed by FAO and the African Union Commission in 2018,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa.

The Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa (F-SAMA) was developed through a collaboration between FAO and the African Union Commission (AUC). The framework was published in 2018 and forms the basis for mechanization initiatives and promotion in Africa. The FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa has taken up domestication of the F-SAMA for CSA and made it a flagship programme.

Agricultural mechanization in Southern Africa, a time for action

Of the more than 360 million inhabitants in Southern Africa, an estimated 70% are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods and agriculture is the backbone of most economies in the region.

In the face of climate change, the livelihoods and economies of SADC Member States are under threat. There is increased realization that smallholder farmers in Southern Africa can only earn decent livelihoods and incomes from agriculture and increase their resilience to climate shocks if they are supported to mechanize and adopt climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies and practices.

It is for this reason that FAO in Partnership with SADC drafted a roadmap to leverage sustainable agricultural mechanization for climate smart agriculture in Southern Africa. The roadmap is aligned to the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy and the FAO Strategic Framework, which seeks to boost agricultural production and productivity.

“Through sustainable mechanization, smallholder farming can be transformed into a more market-oriented business through improved land and labour productivity. It will also enable farmers to better adapt to climate change and lift themselves out of poverty,” said Mathew Abang, Plant Production and Protection Officer, FAO.

Next steps after the workshop

The validated roadmap for SAM4CSA in Southern Africa will be shared with SADC Ministers of Agriculture for their approval, through the SADC Secretariat. FAO will support countries in developing their own national roadmaps. Joint efforts will be made to mobilize resources for implementation of the road map at both national and regional levels. The national roadmaps will be developed to meet the needs and context of each Member State and will also remain aligned to the regional roadmap that has been developed.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) stated that they would use the SAM4CSA to develop and implement agricultural mechanization in COMESA.

“It is exciting that FAO and SADC invited us to be part of this roadmap. I am happy that some members of COMESA are here. This will make it easier for COMESA as we will not be developing our own road map. Instead, we are going to implement what FAO in collaboration with SADC have developed,” said John Mukuka, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance on Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), COMESA.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.

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