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    Reliable access to adequate food is a fundamental requirement for human well-being. Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States face challenges ranging from scarcity or unpredictable changes in food availability due to factors such as weather and climate, labour-intensive or dated agricultural methods, and HIV and AIDS, and other health issues affecting agricultural production levels. SADC Member States seek to improve the lives of their people by removing the serious obstacle of inadequate access to food, as a healthy, well-fed population will be better equipped to build for a better future.

    SADC addresses the Agriculture and Food Security issues within the Southern African region by focusing on five key areas:

    Agriculture and Food Security in SADC

    The agriculture sector is of major social and economic importance in the SADC region, contributing in the different Member States between 4% and 27% of GDP and approximately 13% of overall export earnings.  About 70% of the region's population depends on agriculture for food, income and employment. Hence the performance of this sector has a strong influence on food security, economic growth and social stability in the region.

    Agricultural methods are also labour-intensive, with the labour force being highly impacted by the effects of HIV and AIDS pandemic. A strategic goal for SADC is to improve agricultural efficiencies, specifically focusing on smallholder farmers and their access to factors of production and input and output markets.  Initiatives in this direction would provide multiple benefits, including increased food availability, and improved food security, while freeing up labour to participate in more profitable sectors of the economy.

    The critical importance of Food Security was emphasised in the 2004 Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in the SADC Region (2004), setting goals that are in-line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Declaration of the World Food Summit of 2002. The important contribution fisheries play in regional food security is guided by the 2001 Protocol on Fisheries link to document. Agriculture and Food Security are also prominently featured in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.

    The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate (FANR) of SADC is responsible for programmes in food security, crop and livestock production and fisheries. The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate also develops and disseminates Agricultural Information link to Agricultural Information under Information Services menu through research and development programmes.

    The SADC Multi-Country Agricultural Productivity Programme (MAPP) is a 15-year programme, being implemented in three five-year phases. It is derived from a programme of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa's Development (NePAD), named the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). A key goal of NePAD is to increase agricultural productivity by at least 6 % per year. The SADC Multi-Country Agricultural Productivity Programme focuses on the fourth pillar of the NePAD Programme, agricultural research, and seeks to strengthen technology development, technology dissemination, and linkages among agricultural institutions in the SADC region.

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