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.
- 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.