Crop Development Unit
The Crop Development Unit of FANR Directorate
is mandated to promote the production, protection, processing and
storage of all crops in the SADC region. This mandate makes the
activities and outputs of the unit relevant and key to the regional
challenge of attaining high and sustained economic growth and poverty
reduction. In addition, the Crop Development Unit works closely with
other Units of the FANR Directorate to contribute to food security.
The crop sector offers the region an opportunity
for accelerated economic growth, food security and increased trade
through the many opportunities that exist, especially when the sector
has strong linkages with other sectors of the economy. Limited access
to new farming technologies and inputs, re-current droughts, lack of
marketing infrastructure and information, lack of harmonised policy
and strategy and inadequate capacity for coordination are some of the
hindrances to the achievement of food security and economic growth.
These identified obstacles offer intervention hotspots for the unit to
focus on for the purpose of making the region food secure.
Following centralised coordination and monitoring
of sectoral programmes at SADC Secretariat, the Crop Development Unit
of the FANR Directorate is responsible for coordinating, monitoring
and facilitating crop development activities. Considering its mandate
and the need to contribute to regional food security, the Unit is
involved in developing projects and programmes with specific technical
tasks to undertake. Currently, the Unit is running the SADC Seed
Security Network (SSSN) whose purpose is to improve
access and availability of seed. One of its major achievements has
been the development of the SADC common systems for variety release,
seed certification and sanitary and phytosanitary.
The Crop Development Unit is also actively
developing technical documents and mobilising resources for capacity
building for the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) project,
the establishment of the Regional Food Reserve Facility (RFRF)
aimed at mitigating the effects of future food deficits in the region,
and the Agricultural Water Management for Food Security Programme (AWMFS)
for the purpose of promoting irrigation.
Droughts and crop failure – a common occurrence
in the SADC region. Promotion of irrigation could mitigate the impact
of droughts on food security.
Several other important regional tasks have been
accomplished in the recent past, including study reports on
production and use of bio-fuels and also the management
of migrant pests in the SADC region.
Red-billed (Quelea) birds – One of the
migratory pests in the SADC region and also considered the world’s
most abundant bird.