It is time for Africa

FANRPAN 2012 FANRPAN Regional Policy Dialogue 4 September 2012 Remarks by Hon. Sindiso Ngwenya

It is time for Africa


  • The Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania,

  • The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives

  • Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives

  • FANRPAN CEO, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

  • FANRPAN country nodes hosting institutions

  • Media representatives

  • Distinguished guests

  • Ladies and gentlemen

  • All protocols observed

I would like to welcome you all to the FANRPAN 2012 Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue. This year marks my fifth year as the FANRPAN Board Chairperson. Ladies and Gentleman, I have seen this network grow from strength to strength. I am pleased that I took over from my Brother, Professor Amani, and former FANRPAN Board Chairman, who was in office from 2004 to 2007.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sure you all agree with me that the future of agriculture lies in the hands of these young people who are techno savvy and can drive the modernization of Africa’s agriculture. However, we require good strategies to make agriculture an attractive enough option for youth engagement. To retain young people in Africa and to avoid brain drain, it is necessary to increase investments in agriculture value chain; from the Laboratory, to the Field and to the Plate.

It is also necessary to address vulnerability to weather-related shocks and limited farmer capacity, distorted incentives that keep farmers in subsistence farming, poorly functioning input/output markets and institutional capacity to manage the risk of food insecurity. Technological innovations raise productivity on the farm, labour is freed up to move to non-farm sector.

Some of the great achievements the Network has accomplished in 2011 – 2012 financial year include:

Its participation at the UNFCCC CoP 17 in Durban, where the Network advocated that all African citizens should speak with one voice and echo the NO AGRICULTURE NO DEAL campaign. The FANRPAN message at the UNFCCC COP17 was a deal without a dedicated track for agriculture is “NO Deal”. At the event FANRPAN trained 5 journalists who produced 41 articles, a selection of them were published in the FANRPAN COP17 News. Furthermore, FANRPAN was part of the organizing committee for Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD). The ARDD seeks to find sustainable agriculture solutions to meet food security and climate change challenge. FANRPAN was central to the successful hosting of the COP17 and Rio+20 ARDDs. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, FANRPAN participated in the Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Last year, in Swaziland the Minister of Youth, Hon Hlobisile Ndlovu reminded us that nothing for the youth without the youth. So this year as we begin our deliberations let’s make sure that we honor her advice. I am happy to have as one of the keynote speakers, an upcoming young professional from the African Union Youth Division.

As the FANRPAN Board Chairman together with fellow colleagues in the Board, I would like to extend my congratulations to the FANRPAN CEO, Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda and her team for putting together this Food Security Policy Dialogue.

I also want to recognize the Tanzania Regional Policy Dialogue local steering committees who have worked hard to make sure that we all have a wonderful experience here in Dar es Salaam. I am excited that we are hosted by a country that is setting the pace in mobilizing investments and partnerships in agriculture through the KILIMO KWANZA programme.

Agriculture in Tanzania provides 95% of all the food consumed, it is a source of livelihood for 80% of Tanzanians, and contributes 26.7% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At this year’s FANRPAN Partners’ Meeting held in Pretoria in May, we celebrated the network’s Africa-wide mandate together with Africa day. The initial call for the establishment of FANRPAN was made in 1994 by Ministers of Agriculture from southern and Eastern Africa.

Today the organization boasts an impressive track record. The time cannot be more opportune for FANRPAN to go Africa-wide and help to spell out where the continent is going with agriculture.

Furthermore, FANRPAN this year signed a partnership agreement with the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for a capacity building grant. The five year grant will contribute towards building the institutional capacity of the FANRPAN Regional Secretariat and the national nodes.

Before I sit down I must also acknowledge that all this work would not have been possible without the support that FANRPAN has received from our development partners. Today I wish to acknowledge the following development partners for their unwavering support:

    • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

    • the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)

    • International Development Research Center (IDRC)

    • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

    • CGIAR’s Challenge Programme for Water and Food (CPWF)

    • The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

    • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

    • Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA)

    • The Rockefeller Foundation

We look forward to your continued support.

A special mention to Professor Haidari Amani, former FANRPAN Board Chairman and now FANRPAN Elder. Who took time out to assist with the Regional Policy Dialogue preparations. Special thanks are also in order to the Government and the people of Tanzania for graciously welcoming us into their country and hosting the 2012 FANRPAN Food Security Policy Dialogue.

I thank you.