April 9-10, 2014, Lilongwe, Malawi
SADC Secretariat, in collaboration with the Southern Africa Trust and the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) convened a SADC Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) Strategy Stakeholders Forum, hosted by the Government of the Republic of Malawi, in Lilongwe from 9-10 April, 2014.
Held under the theme, “Empowering Youth and Women for Food and Nutrition Security”, the main objective of the Stakeholders Forum was to provide a platform for consulting with Member States and key stakeholders and seeking inputs into the Conceptual Framework of the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy. Furthermore, the Forum was designed to help identify priority areas for action for the development of the FNS Strategy which will be considered at the Joint Ministerial Meeting of SADC Ministers of Agriculture and Food Security and Ministers of Health at their next meeting scheduled for June 2014, in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The Stakeholders Forum was officially opened by Malawi’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Honourable Bintony Kutsaira. “Food security is a basic human right. All people, at all times should have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Hence our goal today, is to collectively, define an agenda to increase food and nutrition security in the region,” he said.
The stakeholders recommended the identification of interventions with immediate impact on food and nutrition security, including those that accelerate food availability, access to food and food utilisation. To this end, the Forum identified the following:
Food Availability: The need for increased food availability through improved productivity of diverse, safe and nutritious foods; access to credit and land for agriculture, especially for vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the disabled.
Food Access: The development of market information systems at both national and regional levels; development of market infrastructure and promotion of information and communication technology in marketing; promotion of intra-regional trade; promotion of youth in agri-business value chains; and promotion of income generating projects.
Food Utilisation: The provision of basic water and sanitation facilities; food fortification; improved cooking skills; change in behaviour and cultural practices; and improved intra-household allocation, amongst others.
Food Sustainability: In order to sustain food and nutrition security, the forum recommended the inclusion and mainstreaming of all vulnerable groups in the development and implementation of possible interventions.
They also encouraged the development and implementation of participatory monitoring and evaluation systems to track progress. The system, however needs to be supported at high levels in the Member States in order for the stakeholders to provide timely and reliable data.
This forum was preceded by the SADC Youth Forum which made recommendations and called upon SADC Member States to mainstream and integrate children and youth, with special emphasis on women and vulnerable groups, in policies and programmes of agriculture, food and nutrition security at national and regional levels.
Both forums are part of the key priorities outlined by the SADC Chairperson and President of the Republic Malawi, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda, which include Youth and Women Empowerment; Food and Nutrition Security; and Poverty Alleviation.
The stakeholders Forum was attended by 60 delegates including officials from SADC Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security, farmers associations from the region, United Nations agencies, the Health sector and the private sector.
The delegates expressed gratitude to the government and people of the Republic of Malawi for their warm reception and kindness extended to them during the course of the meeting.
Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe, Malawi
April 10th, 2014