EMPOWERING AFRICAN SMALL-SCALE FARMERS COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE SADC REGION
Food is a basic necessity of life. How our food is gathered or grown,
processed, distributed, consumed and then either recycled or
disposed of is called our food system. SADC region once supported
its inhabitants with abundant and bounty of foods from the SADC
countries, the Rivers and the sea. Over the last 50 or 60 years there
has been a movement away from meeting SADC region food needs
through local food production; and a corresponding shift towards
increased imports (70%) from off the SADC region (Mulala Simatele,
2012). In light of climate change impacts on both local and global
agriculture, and the economic fragility of our SADC farm and food
processing and distribution sector, the sustainability of our current
food system is not only in question but in emergency or crisis.
Food Security and Food Sovereignty are terms used throughout this
CASED FOUNDATION.ORG 2030 PROJECT. The definition for Food
security is found in the quote a head. Increasing the agricultural
productive capacity of the SADC Countries, through “LESI” via
permaculture practices methods which are sustainable as well as
economically and socially beneficial to SADC small-scale farmers and
local communities, helps further define this project as one more
closely related to food sovereignty, defined as “The peoples’ right
to define their own policies and strategies for the sustainable
production, distribution and consumption of food that guarantee the
right to food for the entire population, on the basis of small and
medium- sized production, respecting their own cultures and ...
diversity” (World Forum on Food Sovereignty, 2001). Since this
definition was created there have been numerous forums and
writings on food sovereignty, highlighting the complexity of this
SADC DOMINATE FOOD SYSTEM AND FOOD SECURITY
Sourcing good quality food closer to home is a key theme on SADC
and a major topic of sustainability and adaptation to climate change
debates in local communities and around the globe.
The dominant food system has been shaped by many factors
including international and national government research and policy
alongside the proliferation of a profit driven global food industry and
While the current food system has provided benefits to some of the
world's population the sustainability of this dominant system is
currently in question. The results include far-reaching environmental
effects: significant greenhouse gas emissions through heavy use of
fossil fuels and nitrogen based fertilizers (McMichael et al., 2007;
Carlsson-Kanyama & Gonzalez, 2009); polluted lands and waters
from extensive agrochemical use (Moss, 2008; Kurtz, 2005); contamination of crops with genetically modified organisms (Belcher
et al. 2005); loss of biodiversity on and off farm resulting from
reliance on single species crops and intensive agricultural practices
(Francis, 2004; Goland and Bauer, 2004; Thrupp, 2000); and business
development and marketing challenges.
The reinvestment in agriculture, triggered by the 2008 food price
crisis, is essential to the concrete realization of the right to food.
However, in a context of ecological, food and energy crises, the most
pressing issue regarding reinvestment is not how much, but how.
This project explores how SADC 12 States can and must achieve a
reorientation of their agricultural systems towards Low external
sustainable input (LESI) methods of food production that are highly
productive, highly sustainable and that contribute to the progressive
realization of the human right to adequate food (De Schutter, 2010,
These findings are in line with what we heard through the Local Food
Project as strategies for increasing food security on SADC region.
Geographically, SADC region is blessed with a temperate climate and
fertile soils, which make it a prime location for food production.
However, high land values, increasing labour and input costs, and
loss of processing and distribution infrastructure, coupled with a
shrinking farming population has threatened the viability of the local
food system on the SADC countries and consequently threatens food
security of the local people (M’BAMBI, 2017). The SADC’s many
communities are also vulnerable to transportation interruptions as a
result of conflict(s), natural disaster(s), or fuel shortages. Food
sustainability and security are very real concerns for many residents
of the SADC Region.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO INCREASE SADC COUNTRIES
The fundamental goals of a regional food system approach are:
To maximize the potential for SADC regional self-reliance with
regard to food;
To achieve a high minimum standard of quality food provision
for all of the SADC region's residents;
To sustain and develop the resources upon which the whole
To start now the more we procrastinate the more costly it will
be down the line.
WITWATERSRAND University (WITSU), Department Human
Geography, conducted a feasibility study for an Agriculture Resource
and Innovation farming system methods that are under the
supervision of Professor Mulala Danny Simatele concluded in June
2018, the urgency for food security actions in the 12 SADC Countries.
In contrast to the overall decline of agriculture in the SADC region,
M’BAMBI, PhD study finds that small and medium-scale agriculture is
expanding in the SADC region due to the growing demand for local
food production and processing and the desire to seek food
production and processing methods that are environmentally
In addition, there is a growing interest in reviving traditional food
practices up graded by “LESI” though permaculture practices across
the SADC’s region.
The study also identified a growing demand for education, enabling
legislation, removal of barriers, coordination, and research and
resource services in order to advance:
Economic viability, local food production, socially-responsible and
environmentally- sustainable practices, agriculture business
management, value-added processing, and direct farm marketing, as
well as culinary arts and agro-tourism, consumer and health
education, home-based food production, processing and preserving,
and food safety, bio-security, and food security knowledge in all the
12 SADC Countries.
We also know that local food producers may focus on food
production, and may have little access to support for entrepreneurial
business development. This means that attention must turn to better
access to information on operational challenges, marketing
advantages of local food producers – such as place or family,
cooperation in marketing, opportunities for diversification of income,
training needs, and policy frameworks rethinking (M’BAMBI, 2018).
A "new and emerging community" is an ethnic community that
has experienced a significant percentage increases in the number of people in the
jurisdiction in recent years. For example, the Continental African community has
grown from a predominantly student population in the seventies to a growing
multidisciplinary community of first and, second generation immigrants.
At the same time, given their relatively smaller numbers and shorter length of
presence in the jurisdiction compared to older communities, new and emerging
communities do not have the benefit of an established community,
including mainstream sociocultural support.
These characteristics are common among new and emerging small-scale farmer
communities in the SADC region, African cities:
They do not have significantly developed community infrastructure. This
may include specialist ethno-specific services, research and think
tanks institutions, and media that provide avenues for advocacy, sharing
information and community development, including care for vulnerable
populations such as the aged and youths.
They also comprise of residents who do not have English language skills.
Leadership may comprise of individuals who are unfamiliar with mainstream
advocacy and constituency services.
They tend not to have influential infrastructure and organizations that
attract sustainable funding for development.
They may not be factored in existing public policies, regular discussions/
dialogues, resource allocations, and they are usually minimal or no data
that supports inclusion.
They have hard-to-reach populations that are not easily accessible through
regular media, polling, research or outreach.
Generally, the communities have untapped civic, social and economic
capabilities. Notably, the SADC Continental African community is reputedly
the most educated demographic group than the rural communities.
Given the above characteristics, new and
emerging communities experience access barriers that can be defined as "
special needs" but also have potentials that require special efforts to realize.
Undoubtedly, in an increasingly diverse jurisdiction, new and emerging
communities change the dynamics of the neighborhood, workforce, schools, city,
district, county and state.
When the populations are suitably included in all
facets of development, the results foster the vitality of the jurisdiction.
The discussions on the challenges and viable solutions may fall under the following
A Healthy and Sustainable Community that includes culturally relevant
Vital Living for all Residents with a focus on vulnerable and hard-to-reach
Children Prepared to Live and Learn with a focus on proactive risk-reduction
Data that is at the core of a Responsive and Accountable Country
How can we solve our community’s poverty, hunger, healthy and education
problems as an all, Black, Indian and White together?