THE International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) officially opened its East and Southern Africa regional office to help the institution meet its goal of reducing hunger and poverty.
Three quarters of the poorest people in the world live in rural areas and depend mainly on agriculture for their livelihoods.
But climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts of conflicts have the potential to push millions of vulnerable people into extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.
Since 1977, the international organisations has made major investments in reducing poverty, increasing food security, improving nutrition and strengthening rural people’s resilience by providing more than US$23,2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to fund programmes and projects in developing countries.
Last year, supported projects reached an estimated 130 million people.
The opening of the regional office is a key milestone for the organisation’s decentralisation process, which seeks to build on the achievements by the institution for more than four decades.
Increase presence in the region is also a demonstration of commitment to serve the last mile, reaching the most marginalised people.
In East and Southern Africa, agriculture is the largest sector, employing 65% of the labour force and accounting for over 30% of the region’s GDP.
Maize, wheat, rice, millet, potatoes and cassava are the main agricultural trade commodities, generating an estimated annual trade revenue of US$50 billion.
Unfortunately, there has been a decline in agricultural production triggered by shocks such as climate change, COVID-19 and conflicts.
This will not only help food systems transformation, but also enable scaling up of new and innovative approaches.
Today, the region has 50 ongoing IFAD-supported projects and programmes valued at US$4,2 billion spread over 17 countries.Poor Citizen
Research must be a priority to advance farming growth
RESEARCH should be a priority in many countries in order to accelerate the transformation of the agricultural sector on a national scale.
It is the heart of the transformation of agriculture. Unfortunately, over recent decades, it was not possible to make the investment that we would like to make in research.
Investing in research will allow the country to overcome the grain supply crisis.
One obvious possibility is to switch from imported grains to root crops, such as cassava, in which many countries in southern Africa are self-sufficient.
In the past, communities used to harvest five or six tonnes of cassava per hectare and now they have started harvesting 10.
It is our technology that has to be improved. It can make a difference in the agricultural sector.
It is, therefore, important to transfer technology and modernise agriculture, but without being totally dependent.
Countries need to make a leap, but it have to be independent, we cannot be totally dependent on imported technology. They have to have their own.
Countries need to believe in trained researchers and more workers employed in research areas that need support and investment so that they can bring solutions from maize, cassava, soy, and sunflower.
The world is under pressure due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which may affect the supply of some products such as wheat and sunflower oil.
As a result of the Russia/Ukraine war, vegetable oil, for example, went from US$800 a tonne to US$1 800.
Rice also had a jump, but not as big as oil, but significant, and so did wheat.
Therefore, there is a need to relieve this pressure, southern African countries must continue to produce and intensify all production programmes.Farmers Review
ED’s Polad, advisory council useless
THE Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) and the Presidential Advisory Council were constituted as political and economical pillars of our country by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he took over the
Mnangagwa went biblical as he appealed to those who believe in God. He went a mile invoking spiritual quotations.
“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” so he said.
A lot got excited, but I remained cautious not to be drawn into conclusive endorsement.
I knew people were being cheated into endorsing a government that would not deliver on its promises.
As we speak, there is an economic implosion which is sparing no one. Even those in Zanu PF are feeling the pinch.
Polad, a grouping of politicians who performed dismally in the 2018 elections, has not helped the situation.
There is still polarisation in our country as the chasm between Zanu PF and the opposition keeps yawning.
There is chaos on the political front as Zanu PF has gone terroristic, killing and torturing opposition members since Mnangagwa became President.
That goes against his call for a peaceful second republic.
Soldiers shot and killed unarmed civilians in the August 1, 2018 post-election violence.
The Kgalema Montlanthe commission of inquiry’s recommendations to arrest perpetrators have not been implemented. There has been no compensation for the victims’ families.
To date, State-sponsored violence is the order of the day.
The murder of Mboneni Ncube in Kwekwe and Moreblessing Ali in Manyame without arrests vindicates the opposition claims that those doing it are getting instructions from some powerful people in government.
Government officials are always the first to defend those accused of committing the offences and shifting the blame to victims.
Zanu PF employing bullying tactics without a sense of remorse.
What is the purpose of Polad if the country continues to suffer under the similar political conditions which obtained during the late former President Robert Mugabe’s time?
Let us remember that it is taxpayers’ monies that are funding Polad activities, with members driving top-of-the-range cars and getting huge allowances.
If Zanu PF remains a bull in the kraal, I urge NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku and others to resign so that they are not blamed for the continued mess.
Mnangagwa went on to form the Presidential Advisory Council (Pac), which comprised businesspeople like Shingi Munyeza, Kudakwashe Tagwirei and many educated economic gurus.
This organ has been quiet for too long. Many respectable clean businesspeople resigned after realising that it was just a useless gathering.
They realised that Zanu PF does not run the economy by the rule book, but is more of a dealers’ club.
Zanu PF leaders are happy to run an economy that has too many loopholes so they steal from government coffers at any given opportunity.
Polad and Pac have added nothing fruitful to the nation’s development. Instead, they are bleeding our economy.
Can someone within Zanu PF wake up to this truth that the Mnangagwa government is just clueless on how to stabilise the currency?
With the exchange rate hovering around 1:650, is there still hope these so-called Zimbabwean leaders will deliver us from the economic hell?
Zanu PF must self-introspect and start an internal revolution as the present leadership has lost touch with the citizens.
Wake up everyone. We are under political and economic siege.Isaac Mupinyuri