Agro-industry Development for Food and Nutritional Security in Southern Africa

Agro-industry Development for Food and Nutritional Security in Southern Africa

9th to 10th March 2015. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Ad-hoc Expert Group Meeting. Over 60 experts from southern Africa including agro-industry and agribusiness experts from government institutions, the private sector, SADC institutions, civil society, academia and others development partners participated in this meeting.

This Ad-hoc Expert Group Meeting discussed emerging issues and challenges in strengthening agro-industry for food and nutritional security in the SADC region. An issues paper on Agro-industry development for food and nutritional security in Southern Africa was the major discussion paper.

Other papers addressing specific issues in agro-industry development were presented by other stakeholders. These include,

  • “Agro-industry development in East and Southern Africa: Exploring Regional Value Chains (COMESA)”, 
  • “Agro-industry development: capacity and operational needs for take-off”(UNIDO), 
  • “Agro-industry development: The Experience of the Milling Industry in Zambia” (Zambia Millers Association), 
  • Agribusiness development and participation in regional value chains in Southern Africa and 
  • “Financing agroindustry for food and nutritional security in Southern Africa” (DBSA). 

The two day meeting provided concrete recommendations on how to strengthen the agro-industry sector through among others partnerships, best practices and lessons from other regions.

Objectives: 

  • Map the structure and conduct of the sector including performance trends in the SADC sub region; 
  • Identify investment opportunities for the benefit of existing as well as emerging actors within the industry; 
  • Identify constraints that limit agro-processing development in the sub region and analyze short and long term issues that influence the effective establishment and development of agro-processing industries and affect their ability to promote food and nutrition security; 
  • Audit the current policy support mechanisms and their ability to promote an efficient, profitable, competitive, sustainable and inclusive agro-industry which sustains food security and nutrition in the SADC sub region, draw lessons and highlight success stories; 
  • Discuss alternative business models and approaches to agro-industrial development and innovative institutions to support the development of agro-industries with a clear focus on the possible role of governments, the private sector and civil society in the process; and 
  • Recommend strategic directions for strengthening agro-industry development and linkages with food and nutrition security in southern Africa. 

The small and inchoate private sector in many African countries and struggling medium and small scale industries required for the state’s involvement which is key in creating an agricultural entrepreneurial class that would invest in the agri-business.

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