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Minister Peter Sinon attends 'SADC Ministers of Agriculture & Natural Resource Meeting' in Maputo - Mozambique

24.06.2013

 

MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND INDUSTRY

PRESS RELEASE

24.06.2013

Minister Peter Sinon attends 'SADC Ministers of Agriculture & Natural Resource Meeting' in Maputo - Mozambique

 

Scheduled to meet once every two years the SADC Ministers of Agriculture coincidentally met in Maputo a decade after the Summit of the African Union met and gave birth to the "Maputo Declaration" and the  'Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme' CAADP for which Seychelles formally adhered signed its compact in September 2011.

The main purpose of the meeting was for the Ministers deliberated and in principle approves the draft 'Regional Agricultural Policy' (RAP) SADC. The ambition is for the RAP to become a legally binding document that would also include fisheries as opposed to restricted to land-based agriculture. Comprehensive considerations of the 'Blue Economy' was a point highlighted and insisted by the Minister Sinon as he followed in the trajectory of President's Michel's pronouncements at the recent AU Summit and in Japan for the 5th TICAD Summit. The Minister was supported by all but specifically SADC island and coastal member states such as Mauritius, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique.

The SADC Secretariat announced the willingness of the Republic of South Africa to support a Fisheries Expert to boost the Secretariat's Capacity in monitoring this sector. This was welcomed and with other member states Seychelles took the opportunity to express gratitude for this most critical contribution that will allow the 'blue economy' to be comprehensively be considered in the RAP programmes.

The internal national and regional legal experts consultations with an objective to reach consensus on the way forward by December 2013 has already been initiated but has substantial work ahead to come to consensus on the best way forward.

The proposed SADC RAP is based on 5 main pillars:

1. Production, Productivity and Competitiveness related to Food Security and Agricultural Development

2. Investment Promotion, Farmers Incentives and Institutional factors related to Food Security and Agricultural Development

3. Agricultural and Rural Finance, Credit and Insurance Schemes

4. Trade access to markets and infrastructure related to Food Security and Agricultural Development

5. Social and Vulnerable factors related to Food Security and Agricultural Development

The SADC Ministers were also informed that in harmony with the CAADP process of the African Union, the development and formulation of the SADC 'Regional Agricultural Policy Investment Plan' (RAPIP) is ongoing to eventually be the platform from which the necessary funding requirements will be identified and mobilized to implement the RAP.

It is to be noted that despite minor delays in its schedule, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry is in the process of mobilizing funding and technical assistance to initiate its 'Seychelles National Agricultural Investment Programme' SNAIP within the CAADP framework. This national document will be harmonized and aligned to the RAPIP to ensure complementarity and its regional alignment in relevant areas.

The Ministers also reiterated their commitments to work towards increasing intra-SADC trade especially in areas where there are scopes for mutually beneficial exchanges. Botswana and Namibia for example, are very strong producers of livestock especially beef whilst Seychelles for example is a strong producer and exporter of fish. There is thus scope to exploit and enhance trade in view of the complementarities. However, regular and reliable transport and related infrastructure and a number of non-tariff issues continue to be the obstacles to be addressed for regional trade to flourish.

Given the ambitions set for itself and the Year 2015 being proposed as the Year of Agriculture for Africa, the Ministers agreed to conduct an Extra-Ordinary Ministerial meeting in February 2015. The Ministers were also warned of a possible 'food price-hike' anticipated for the end of the current year. This gave a particular importance the Secretariat's report on the 'Regional Food Security Situation' with an urge to member states to boost their respective reporting regularity, accuracy to facilitate planning and programming. South Africa also took the opportunity to announce and invite colleagues to a Ministerial conference on "Food Security and Climate Change" that it will be co-hosting with the World Bank in Durban in December 2013.

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