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    25 Mar, 2019

    EU, FAO and SADC Secretariat launch a €9.0 Million Programme of Support towards operationalisation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP)

    The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Union (EU) Delegation to Botswana launched a €9.0 Million Programme of Support towards operationalisation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) in Gaborone, Botswana on 22 March 2019.

    Subsequent to the launch, representatives from SADC Member States, stakeholders and implementing partners held a 3-day workshop from 19- 21 March 2019 to refine the project work plan, milestone, chart way forward and ensure timelines for successful implementation of the project.

    The Programme of Support towards operationalisation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) is funded by the EU to the tune of €9.0 Million and was approved by SADC Council in 2014 as the overarching framework for the region’s agriculture sector. It defines common agreed objectives and measures to guide, promote and support actions at regional and national levels and contributes to the SADC Common Agenda on sustainable and equitable economic growth.

    On his part, the Ambassador of the EU to Botswana and SADC, His Excellency, Jan Sadek stated that the EU through the 11th Economic Development Fund programme of 2014-2020 (EDF11), was assisting the SADC Secretariat to promote and support actions in agricultural sector at regional and National levels.

    H.E Sadek said that with 61 percent of the region’s population living in rural areas, agriculture sector performance has a strong influence of food security, poverty reduction, economic growth, industrialisation and social and political stability. He further mentioned that the EU’s support to the operationalisation of the RAP was complimentary to a number of global initiatives, like the United Nation’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.

    SADC Director of Food Agricultural and Natural Resources, Mr. Dimongos Gove said that the revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015 – 2020 has identified agricultural development as one of the key pre-requisites for reducing poverty and enhancing industrialisation of the region. He said while the project of Support was aimed at operationalisation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy through improved production, productivity and competitiveness of agricultural products, it was also intended to combat and control animal and crop pests and improving information gathering, analysis and use in the region.

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative in Botswana, Mr. Rene Czudek underscored the importance of collaboration between SADC and FAO in support to agricultural development of SADC Member States and the region as a whole. He said the EU and SADC Secretariat had in 2016 identified FAO as the lead implementing agency for the two year of the three components of the project. He stated that the project seeks to build on achievements made by the Africa Solidarity Trust funded project titled “Strengthening controls of food safety threats, plant and animal pests and diseases for agricultural productivity and trade in Southern Africa.”

    The specific objectives of the RAP include;

    • Enhancing the sustainable agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness; improving regional and international trade and access to markets for agricultural products;
    • Improving private and public sector engagement and investment in agricultural value chains;
    • and reducing social and economic vulnerability of the region’s population in the context of food and nutrition security challenges, economic instability and climate change.

    The implementation of RAP will be through the Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (RAIP) 2017-2022, which was approved in 2016. The RAIP outlines the priority programmes of the RAP to be implemented. It is a vehicle for raising the required resources for the operationalisation of the RAP. The Programme of Support towards operationalisation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) is one such initiative of the RAIP.

    Under this Programme, the European Union through the 11th Economic Development Fund programme of 2014-2020 (EDF11) is providing €9.0 Million to fund the following components:

    • €1.8 Million on facilitating implementation of some components of the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (FNSS) in SADC Member States. This component is implemented directly by the SADC Secretariat.
    • €6.2 Million enhancing information on agricultural production, sustainability and competitiveness for evidence-based decision making; and
    • Improving access to markets through implementattion of plant and animal pest and disease control stratetegies at the regional level.

    Done in Gaborone, Botswana, 22nd March 2019

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