Mnangagwa to open regional agriculture unions’ conference

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected in Victoria Falls today to officially open the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions’ (Sacau) annual Conference on trade.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

The two-day conference will be co-hosted by the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) and Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) and is running under the theme, Trade as a Driver for Agricultural Transformation in Southern Africa.

“This year’s conference theme is primarily motivated by Africa’s natural resource endowment and the increasing global demand for food, fuel and fibre, which are essential elements for the transformation of the agricultural sector. While trade plays a critical link between markets and production, its performance in transforming the agricultural sector in the region has been less than satisfactory,” Sacau chief executive officer, Ishmael Sunga, said.

“Currently, there is an unequal balance of power between industrialised and developing countries, hence our countries have for a long time been reduced to suppliers of cheap raw materials and consumers of imported processed/manufactured products. In addition, our farmers are consigned to the high risk-low return type of agriculture, partly due to their limited appreciation and understanding of the complexity of the whole trade architecture and its requirements,” he said.

The conference aims to discuss key concerns and issues around trade arrangements and practices; identify and discuss key elements to consider in pursuing a trade-driven agricultural transformation agenda and create an opportunity for farmer leaders in Southern Africa to better understand the rules, regulations, and key processes like negotiations and dispute settlements within which trade happens at global, continental and regional levels as well as in between countries.

Sacau is expected to elect a new regional chairman as Theo de Jager has served two years at the helm.