Driven by the need to forge a combined approach to address the challenges affecting agriculture and food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the principals of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and the Food and Agriculture Organization Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (FAOSFS) met on 27th February 2023 in Pretoria, South Africa. The CEO and Head of Mission of FANRPAN, Dr. Tshilidzi Madzivhandila, and senior management hosted the FAO delegation, which was led by Dr. Patrice Talla Takoukam, FAO’s Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa.

SSA’s agriculture and food systems continue to be challenged by several factors that include changing climate, inadequate national investment in agriculture, lack of adoption of digital and other appropriate technologies, and the impact of global events and shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. As a result, the region’s food and nutrition security is compromised, leading to a growing reliance on imported staple foods like wheat, rice, and palm oil. Continued imports amount to lost employment opportunities, further curtailing the continent’s ability to harness the dividends from its bulging youth population.

Against this background, there is a need for strong partnerships to address these challenges and ensure resilient African agriculture and food systems. Today, FANRPAN and FAO agreed to deepen collaboration to enable joint resource mobilization, implementation of relevant initiatives that include FAO’s three flagship programmes in the region, as well as the commemoration of key events such as World Food Day, and the celebration of the 20thanniversary of FANRPAN since the registration of the policy network.

Whilst building on past collaborative efforts, the FANRPAN-FAO partnership will soon be formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). In the past, FANRPAN and FAOSFS have collaborated on several initiatives that include promoting the uptake of Conservation Agriculture (CA), and the development and implementation of national agricultural investment plans. FANRPAN has also collaborated with the FAO Regional Office for Africa on family farming in Sub-Saharan Africa.