Declaration of the Joint Meeting of SADC Ministers Responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture – Angola

The Joint Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held on 13 May 2022 at the Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi.

The meeting brought together Ministers or their representatives from 14 Member States, namely the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Malawi, Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Namibia, Republic of South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Zambia and Republic of Zimbabwe. The meeting was also attended by the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, and officials from the SADC Secretariat.

The meeting was preceded by a two-day Senior Officials Meeting from May 10-11, 2022 which reviewed and approved the documents for the Ministers’ meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to review and review the implementation of policies and strategies aimed at advancing agriculture and food and nutrition security, fisheries and aquaculture production and productivity in the region. The meeting took place against the backdrop of excessive rains, which caused heavy flooding in some parts of the Region, cyclones and drought in others; epidemics of transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases; major supply chain and service disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation and record public debt which limit the ability of many countries to meet current socio-economic challenges as well as the global food insecurity situation caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The meeting was chaired by the Honorable Lobin Lowe, MP, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Malawi and Chair of the Joint Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture . In his remarks, Hon. Lowe commended SADC Member States for working diligently during these challenging times to implement many of the recommendations supporting SADC agricultural efficiency, including the 2021/2022 synthesis report on the state of food and nutrition security and vulnerability in the SADC region.

He stressed that it is through collective efforts and the pursuit of mutual agreements and regional approaches and strategies that SADC can fully address national and international investments in agriculture, water and natural resources. while addressing some of the many challenges that have had profound and negative consequences. eroding previously recorded successes.

Dr Mhlongo stressed the need for SADC Member States to dig deeper in the search for sustainable solutions to achieve better and exceptional gains in agricultural space, as this sector is critical to the socio-economic growth of the region. region and a major catalyst in reducing poverty and hunger. reduction. He stressed that SADC should intensify its efforts to increase production as the region faces unprecedented challenges which have had negative global impacts, among others, the raging war in Eastern Europe which has affected the availability of agricultural supplies, including cereals and agricultural inputs.

Dr Mhlongo further emphasized that although the SADC region has made progress in mitigating the impacts of climate change, it was important to continue caring for the environment, especially in the agricultural sector to limit its contribution to global warning, thereby reducing environmental degradation, including the degradation of other natural resources such as fisheries and aquaculture.

The ministers also deliberated on programs with a regional dimension in support of the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050, in particular the programs for the development of agricultural space.

Ministers received updates on the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) and its implementation plan, the Regional Agricultural Investment Plan (RAIP); and reviewed the work programs of the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Center (SPGRC) and the Coordinating Center for Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA).

Ministers noted the ongoing challenges posed by the recurrence of transboundary plant pests and animal diseases that continue to affect the production of food crops and urged Member States to strengthen the management of plant and animal pests and diseases. and also to prepare for epidemics, in particular African swine fever (ASF). , two new foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMD) serotypes (O and A), H5 HPA, 14 H5N1 HPAI and many others.

Ministers urged Member States to mainstream and implement Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) mainstreaming guidelines for the agricultural sector, which include the practice of green and environmentally sound agricultural production .

As part of efforts to implement the 2014 Malabo Declaration, in particular the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Compact, Ministers considered the Third Biennial Review Report (BR) which aims to increase public spending on agriculture; increase farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and technologies; and increase investments in building resilience; and open up to intra-regional trade, and use structured markets.

Ministers urged Member States to excel in the implementation of the SADC RAIP which will, over time, improve and expand market infrastructure related to agriculture.

Ministers urged Member States to fully implement the actions endorsed at the UN Food Systems Summit that transform the way the world produces and consumes food as a turning point in achieving and achieving progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ministers called for strengthening cross-sector collaboration on investment projects using the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus Framework and mobilization of resources to support capacity building of Member States to implement the Nexus concept WEF in project planning and preparation.

The Ministers endorsed the Standard Operating Procedures, the Guidelines on the Management of Plant Genetic Resources at the SPGRC and the Regional Strategy on the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources 2020-2030, which are key policy instruments to support the achievement of the RAP of SADC and the industrialization strategy.

Ministers further commended the Republic of Mozambique for signing the Charter Establishing the SADC Seed Centre, which guides Member States in coordinating seed certification and quality assurance, improving agricultural production and diversification of food resources while preventing genetic erosion in agriculture.

Ministers endorsed the report on the implementation of the fisheries protocol, which provides updated information on the extent to which member states have implemented the protocol and highlights success stories where significant progress has been made . They also urged Member States which have not yet acceded to the Fisheries Protocol (2001) to do so.

Ministers commended the cooperating partners, namely the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), Water Research Commission ( WRC), WorldFish and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to support the implementation of regional programs and the operationalization of the RAIP to support SADC in the implementation of priority regional programs in all sectors.

Finally, the Ministers appreciated the support provided by the Government of the Republic of Malawi for successfully hosting the Joint Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, and Fisheries and Aquaculture.

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