PROJECT SUMMARYIn 2018, FANRPAN and CARE Southern Africa formed a collaboration that was driven largely by the similarity of their mandates and programme objectives. Now in its fifth year, the collaboration’s original focus was on promoting climate-smart agriculture (CSA) as a way of improving the resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change, and the building of a vibrant alliance of CSA stakeholders in the southern Africa region. During the third year of collaboration, the focus broadened to include nutrition, with a focus on trying to influence policy and practice for agriculture to deliver positive nutrition outcomes. Interventions sought to ensure that governments capitalized on the momentum of the Malabo Declaration, especially the impact of the biennial reports, as well as deriving benefit from organised non-state stakeholders and partners to support national and regional agricultural transformation agendas.
Africa’s quest for food and nutrition security can be attained not only through better production efficiencies, but also with a focus on improving the nutrition outcomes of agriculture, building the resilience of the continent’s smallholder farmers to climate change and related variabilities, and the avoidance of food loss.
In recent years, agricultural investment in sub-Saharan Africa has increased leading to an increase in food production. However, despite this increase in food production malnutrition rates are still high. Agricultural programmes have traditionally focused on increasing the availability of food rather than promoting consumption and improving nutrition status. Africa has the highest malnutrition rates in the world; with 17 countries having stunting rates above 40% and 36 countries above 30%. Sub-Saharan Africa carries a high burden of under-nutrition, with 33% of childhood deaths linked to under-nutrition; it is therefore vital that agricultural programmes start to take nutrition into consideration if they are to provide long-term nutrition security. The barriers to good nutrition, amongst others are a lack of knowledge about which food crops are nutrient rich, insufficient harvesting, poor storage and farmers’ failure to access markets, all of which can prevent foods reaching the people who need them most. Women’s lack of empowerment partly contributes to this scenario. It is often assumed that when women are able to decide what to grow, what to consume and how household budgets are spent, nutrition at household level improves. Against this background, a concerted effort is required to influence the nutrition agenda under the Malabo Declaration, especially in view of the second Biennial Review process that is currently underway. The region must deploy a structured approach aimed at influencing the UN Global Nutrition Agenda (UNGNA) to ensure a broad framework for aligning the work of SADC development actors in support of regional and national nutrition.
Climate change and variability threaten to erode and reverse the gains made in ending hunger and malnutrition. Climate change is a present and growing threat to food and nutrition security in Africa, and more so to the economies of countries that are heavily reliant on agriculture. Currently, whilst there is some spatial diversity, reduced precipitation and higher temperatures are already impacting negatively on the yields of staple food crops. It is estimated that by 2050, an additional 71 million people globally will become food insecure as a result the impacts of climate change, with over half of them being in sub-Saharan Africa. The deterioration of the food and nutrition security situation in Africa, and the lack of progress towards World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global nutrition targets makes it imperative for countries to step up their efforts. The need for a heightened sense of urgency and renewed commitment can also be seen from the findings of the inaugural biennial review of countries’ progress towards implementation of the Malabo Declaration commitments. The inaugural results illustrated a positive correlation between a country’s performance and its commitment to the values and principles of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Climate resilience is key and must be built around climate risk assessments, science, proven technologies, and cross-sectoral collaboration. Greater efforts are needed in data collection, monitoring, and implementation of climate-smart agriculture practices. Continued efforts, through partnerships, blending climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and long-term financing, are needed to bridge humanitarian and development approaches. In addition, actions across sectors must be scaled up to achieve greater smallholder farmer and women’s resilience to climate variability and extremes.
In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), an average of 20% of food is lost at storage (FAO, 2011). Estimated to be worth $4 billion per year, the food loses can feed up to 48 million people (FAO, 2013). Losses on cereals are high, accounting for about 25% of the total crop harvested, a situation that demands a high sense of urgency towards addressing it. In response to the heavy losses, a wide array of modern and improved postharvest loss management (PHLM) technologies have been introduced to smallholder farmers through the combined efforts of public, private, and civil society sector actors. Despite the different interventions and promotion, the adoption rates for different PHLM technologies by smallholder farmers remain sub-optimal for various reasons. Initial studies point to low incomes as the main inhibiter of accelerated adoption, with smallholder farmers unable to mobilise the adequate initial outlay required for technologies such as metal silos, thereby restricting adoption rates to between 40-60%. This inability to invest in improved PHLM technologies triggers a vicious cycle for smallholder farmers, making agriculture an inescapable poverty trap characterised by reliance on traditional non-improved technologies, high losses, low incomes and low innovation potential.
PROJECT OBJECTIVESThe overall project objective is to deepen engagement with the regional and national state and non-state stakeholders with a view to promoting practice and policy changes that guarantee improvements to the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, especially women and youth. The partnership seeks to achieve this by contributing to the momentum of implementing country commitments to the Malabo Declaration, with a special focus on contributing to the regional, continental and global discourse on food and nutrition security, and engaging with the SADC secretariat.
Specifically, the partnership seeks to:
- Influence the nutrition and CSA agenda in southern Africa in general, and focal countries in particular
- Align country activities on nutrition and CSA to the Malabo Declaration and the Biennial Reporting processes
- Influence the regional, continental and global processes on nutrition and climate change, to include the African Ministerial Conference on Environment, the UNFCCC and the UN Global Nutrition Agenda
CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIESThe partnership is guided by a set of agreed annual activities. With the specific objectives for the 2020 to 2021 year aimed at influencing the nutrition and CSA agenda in the second Biennial Report of the Malabo Declaration; to influence regional, continental, and global discourse on nutrition and climate change, to include the UNFCCC, AMCEN, and the UN Global Nutrition Agenda; and contributing to the national discourse and momentum towards PHM policies
Key Activity 1:
Conduct Multi-stakeholder dialogues to influence the postharvest policies and practices in the Malabo 2nd Biennial process.
1.1: In-country case studies on postharvest policies and practices to influence the Malabo 2nd Biennial process.
Using desk studies on postharvest policies and practices, and the documented experiences of smallholder farmers in CARE operational sites, country status reports will be compiled. These will form a basis for interface with government representatives for nutrition, climate change and agriculture, with a special focus on CSA. The main results from the national multi-stakeholder dialogues will be the ability of stakeholders to influence national positions on climate change, nutrition, CSA and postharvest policies and practices, in the Biennial Review Process.
1.2: Regional multi-stakeholder dialogues to influence the postharvest policies and practices agenda in the second Biennial Review process of the Malabo Declaration.
A synthesis of the reports from the three country case studies and dialogues will be generated to give a regional picture, thus providing a basis for engaging with the SADC regional secretariat and member states at a regional level through a side event to be staged on the sidelines of FANRPAN dialogue platforms. The event will be attended by representatives from the CARE focal countries and other delegates attending the regional dialogue.
Key Activity 2:
Conduct structured advocacy engagements to influence and ensure smallholder input into the Climate and Nutrition discourse.
This activity will consist of three sub-activities, focusing on amplifying the voices and positions of smallholder farmers, especially women and youth; promoting regional and continental reports and releases; and providing a platform for smallholder farmer policy champions to advocate for policies and practice centered on key climate, CSA, nutrition and postharvest issues.
2.1 Develop and disseminate position papers to influence discourse on key climate, CSA and nutrition issues.
Working in conjunction with CARE and other partners, and utilizing outputs from the focal country engagements, FANRPAN will actively develop and disseminate position papers as inputs into the discourse on climate, CSA, nutrition and postharvest issues at regional, continental and global levels.
2.2 Develop and disseminate press releases and commentaries in response to key regional and continental reports and releases on climate, CSA, nutrition and postharvest issues.
FANRPAN and CARE will also develop and disseminate press releases and commentaries to amplify key reports and releases by the regional and continental bodies on climate change, CSA, nutrition and postharvest issues.
2.3 Policy Champions engage with policy actors on key regional and continental reports and releases on climate, CSA, nutrition and postharvest issues in view of the Biennial Review Process.
Selected and capacitated policy champions from the respective CARE operational sites will engage with targeted policy makers to advocate for policy and practice on the key issues of climate change, CSA, nutrition and postharvest, in view of the Biennial Review process. Apart from ensuring input into the review process, policy champions will solicit firm commitments from policy makers on these key issues.
The key outputs from 2020/2021 planned activities include the following.
- Country Status Reports – Review of CAADP/Malabo Biennial Reports.
- Reports of Proceedings - Country FNSS Dialogues/Multi-sectoral Action Plans.
- Position papers will be developed to feed into regional, continental, and global discourse on climate change and nutrition.
- Communication and Visibility Strategy.
- Capacity Strengthening on NSA.