ESAFF joins SADC agri-investment policy working group





 Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers Forum (ESAFF) has joined South African Development Community (SADC)   Regional   Agricultural    Policy   (RAP) Investment Plan Working Group to represent the interest of small farmers across the region. SADC secretariat wrote to ESAFF last June to join the group, and offer that was greatly appreciated, with the hope of pushing further the voice of the small farmers in the region’s policy making bodies.

ESAFF joins the working group will about 24 other members technical team, national focal points, umbrella farmer organizations, regional chamber of commerce and industry representative(s); civil society umbrella body among others.According to SADC secretariat, SADC Council of Ministers endorsed the SADC RAP at their August 2014 meeting held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

“The next major step is the development and costing of the RAP Investment Plan.   Some progress has been made and resources mobilised towards this target,” noted the communication from SADC. SADC Secretariat has adopted a participatory  approach,  hence invited ESAFF and other organisations to join the RAP Regional Working Group which  will  act  as  a  peer  review  group  in  the  RAP  Investment Plan  development   process.

The RAP's overall objective is to contribute to sustainable agricultural growth and socio economic development with the ultimate goal of contributing towards the attainment of the SADC Common Agenda which promotes sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development.

ESAFF Coordinator Mr Joe Mzinga said the importance of agriculture cannot be disputed, as about 70% of the region’s population depends on it for food, income and employment.  He commended SADC secretariat for involving civil society, specifically farmers’ organizations in the working group, and promised ESAFF would be engaged fully in the imitative for the benefits of small scale farmers in Africa

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