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SADC urged to harness CAADP’s transformative impact to develop the agricultural sector

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been urged to ride on the success story of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), with its transformative impact on the agricultural sector, to draw invaluable lessons that can be applied in the pursuit of food security to spur progress and development in the region.
This was revealed in the opening remarks by Panduleni Elago, Senior CAADP Advisor, on behalf of Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, the Director of Agriculture and Rural Development of the African Union Commission (AUC) at the SADC Regional Consultation and Dialogue Meeting on the Post-Malabo CAADP Agenda in Lusaka, Zambia on 3 June 2024.
“The success story of CAADP, with its transformative impact on our agricultural sector, is not only a cause for celebration but also a source of invaluable lessons that we can apply as we continue our journey of progress and development.
“In the Southern Africa region, SADC has various strategies under its Regional Agriculture Investment Plan, from Regional Crop Development Program to Irrigation Policy, Regional Mechanisation Strategy, Regional Livestock Development Program, and food and nutrition strategy, amongst many others,” Panduleni said.
These are part of the extensive efforts by SADC to drive agricultural transformation in the region through regional cooperation and integration. She said moving forward, building on these existing initiatives will be critical to achieving the priorities outlined for the next Malabo era.
She said one of the lessons learned from the transformation of the agricultural sector through CAADP is the power of a coordinated and comprehensive approach.
“We recognized that to effect real change, we needed to address agriculture holistically. It wasn’t just about increasing yields but also about improving access to resources, enhancing market linkages, and creating a favorable policy environment. The success of CAADP underscores the importance of considering the entire agricultural value chain and addressing the multifaceted challenges our smallholder farmers face.”
Another crucial lesson is the significance of investing in smallholder farmers, who form the backbone of our agricultural sector. Through targeted support and capacity building, it has emerged that when provided with the right tools, knowledge, and resources, smallholder farmers can achieve remarkable results. Their resilience, hard work, and determination, when combined with adequate support, have been key drivers of agricultural success.
Furthermore, CAADP has taught stakeholders the importance of adaptability and learning from experience. Over the two decades of its implementation, the program encountered challenges and setbacks. However, what sets it apart is the ability to adjust strategies, fine-tune its policies, and learn from both successes and failures, realizing that flexibility and a willingness to embrace innovation are essential for continued progress.
The reduction in hunger and improved food security is a lesson in the profound impact of policy coherence. CAADP brought different sectors together to create a unified approach to food systems. Stakeholders have learned that aligning policies across agriculture, health, education, and nutrition is crucial to achieving sustainable results.
Additionally, the emergence of agribusinesses and their role in job creation has shown the transformative power of entrepreneurship and private sector engagement. Stakeholders have come to understand that the public and private sectors can work together to drive economic growth and foster innovation. The lesson here is that they should continue to create an enabling environment for business development and investment.
CAADP’s success is a testament to the importance of regional and international collaboration. By sharing knowledge, resources, and best practices with neighboring countries and global partners, member states have achieved collective progress. The lesson is clear: the challenges are not isolated, and the solutions should not be either.
“As we celebrate these achievements and reflect on the lessons learned, let us not forget that the journey is ongoing. We must build on these successes, embrace innovation, and address new challenges such as climate change and evolving market dynamics. With the resilience and determination that have brought us this far, we can continue to shape a brighter future for our continent. CAADP’s legacy is a testament to the potential of Africa’s agriculture, and together, we can unlock even greater possibilities.
“The journey of CAADP is far from over, and we must remain committed to its principles and objectives. As we stand at this juncture, we have the opportunity to set new and ambitious goals for the next chapter of CAADP. Our future endeavors must focus on harnessing the potential of technology, innovation, and sustainability in agriculture. We must prioritize climate resilience and environmental conservation to ensure that future generations inherit a thriving Africa. Education and skills development should remain central to our efforts, empowering our youth and women to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow,” Panduleni said.
In a statement delivered on his behalf by Duncan Samikwa, Senior Programme Officer, Food Security, and Agriculture, SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellence Mr. Elias Magosi said the regional bloc started measuring its performance in the implementation of the Malabo Commitments through the Biennial Review process.
“Overall, we have not achieved the thresholds that have been said at each annual review starting in 2017; 2019; 2021, and the most recent 2023. Granted, we have improved in some of the commitments, but we have stagnated or regressed in some. The purpose of this meeting, therefore, is to reflect on our past performance and to make recommendations for improvement in the last Biennial Review in 2025 and importantly in the Post Malabo Agenda,” he said.
SADC Member States have during the period of implementing CAADP, also developed several instruments, strategies, and frameworks including the Regional Agricultural Policy; the Regional Agriculture Investment Plan; the National Agriculture Investment Plans; National Agriculture Policies; and Agenda 2063 to name but a few.
All these have been formulated to work in tandem with the Malabo Declaration/Commitments to improve agriculture as the engine of growth for our Member States.
“It is important therefore, that as we propose a way forward and make recommendations for the Post Malabo Agenda, we must seek complementarities, alignment, harmonization, and continuation of these strategies which are in force in our Member States. We must do this while not stifling our creativity to improve and embrace change and imaging issues paradigms such as the Agrifood Systems for the Post Malibu agenda,” the SADC Secretary-General said.
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