THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says there is need for countries in southern Africa to create a more comprehensive platform that will enable them develop strategies aimed at addressing challenges faced in the agriculture sector.
Speaking during a multi-disciplinary team meeting on Monday, FAO sub-regional coordinator for southern Africa David Phiri said the scale and complexity of the challenges in the crop and livestock sub-sectors such as climate change has negatively affected food security in the region.
Mr Phiri said formulating collaborations among FAO member countries will help enhance the implementation and monitoring of resources aimed at creating innovative ways of developing the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sector in the region.
“The main focus of this meeting is to provide a podium for all of us to discuss, share our experiences, and more importantly provide guidance and devise strategies to achieve our mandate. You will all agree with me that southern Africa is faced with a predicament and the impacts are being felt across all sectors, and particularly, in agriculture.”
“The magnitude and complexity of this problem demands swift action by countries and the region at large. As FAO, we have confidence in building partnerships and working in a coordinated manner to bring forth change and save lives in our communities,” he said.
Mr Phiri said FAO will continue providing financial and technical guidance to member states to enable them build administrative capacities that will in turn yield positive results.
Earlier, Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa said FAO has been a long standing partner for Zambia that has significantly contributed to the development of the agriculture sector in the country.
Mr Shawa cited programmes such as post-harvest handling of fruit and horticulture products, the strengthening of livestock information management system, and the formulating of the national agriculture investment plan as being among the projects that have been implemented with support from FAO.
Others include the introduction of oil palm trees in the country, capacity building in the identification and management of the Asia fruit fly and the introduction and up-scaling of conservation agriculture, among others.
“The valued FAO support has contributed to the normative aspect of the ministry’s work in crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry. This has further [led] to the domestication of some of the best practices that have been developed globally,” he said.