Annual National Agri- Business Conference
Starts: Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 06:00am
Ends: Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 11:00am
CONCEPT NOTE ON THE 2016 ANNUAL NATIONAL AGRI-BUSINESS CONFERENCE.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy contributing 20.1% to the country`s GDP. Further to providing food to the people of Zimbabwe, the sector contributes 60% and 70% inputs to the Zimbabwean manufacturing sector as well as employment to the youth and women, respectively.
However, in recent years, food production in Zimbabwe has been devastated by various factors including natural disasters and economic downturn. Recurrent drought causing a series of poor harvests has contributed to increasing levels of vulnerability and acute food insecurity (WFP).
For example, El Nino related conditions have caused erratic rainfall during the 2015/16 summer cropping season and it is estimated that as a result, close to 4 million people need food aid. The country has since declared a national disaster and requested a whooping US$1, 6 billion in assistance to reduce the incidence of the vulnerability.
The persistence of drought in the country is posing a threat to the national aspiration of achieving food security and nutrition as embedded under the Food and Nutrition Cluster of the ZIMASSET.
The issue of food security has also been accorded priority in the continent and beyond as attested by the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) at the African Union level as well as the United Nations` Sustainable Development Goal # 2 that seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030.
Cognisant of the threat posed to national food security as a result of climate change and noting the level of strain that is caused to the fiscus through importation of food when the country can harness available resources to avert the calamity, there is a general agreement on the fact that sustained action needs to be taken to improve on the country`s agricultural output if the nation is to attain food security.
It is against this background that each year, the NECF and ZAS organises a conference to seriously discuss on strategies to turn around the agricultural sector. This year`s conference will follow up on the progress made in implementing the resolutions of the 2015 ANAC with a special focus on how the country can achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
Objectives of the Conference.
The conference will deliberate on innovative approaches to build productive capacity in agriculture particularly focusing on how to attain self-sustenance and achieve food security.
The conference is a follow up to the 2015 ANAC that ran under the theme “Enhancing Agricultural Productivity; Managing Climate Change” and came up with several strategic recommendations on the appropriate research, technology and support services needed to increase agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe in the wake of climate change.
The essence is to build a strong and sustainable agricultural sector for food and nutrition security, youth employment, poverty alleviation, and rural transformation. Particularly, the conference will seek to come up with solutions on how to harness available resources such as water bodies and information communication technologies to improve agricultural productivity.
The conference will receive updates with regards to resolutions made at a conference held on 12 July 2016 whose focus will be on three strategic areas namely;
1. Grain millers and stock feeds manufacturers target of supporting farmers to achieve 800 000 to 1 million tonnes of Maize, Soya beans and wheat required for processing;
2. Targeted farming led by ARDA aimed at identifying farmers to produce 500 000 to 1 million tonnes of maize to ensure food self-sufficiency at national level
3. Household food self-sufficiency for communal and other A1 subsistence farmers
The conference is expected to come up with policy brief with a set of recommendations targeted at achieving the following:-
i) Self-sufficiency of the country in food production via policy reforms that stimulate efficient local production, processing, pricing and marketing, and discourages food importation.
ii) Massive employment of youths and women by the creation of small and medium scale agricultural enterprises
iii) Poverty eradication and improved livelihoods via increased incomes from agricultural activities; and
iv) Strong private sector participation in agricultural transformation.
Structure of the Conference
The half day conference will proceed by way of presentations, panel discussions as well as thematic breakout sessions
Stakeholders to the Conference
Stakeholders will be drawn from the following categories:
1. Ministry of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development
2. Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change
3. Farmers and Farmer Organizations
4. Agro Input Suppliers, Agro Merchants and Traders, Agro Processors
5. Financial Services Providers: Banks, Microfinance Institutions, Credit Associations etc.
6. Agricultural Marketing
7. Agriculture related retailers
8. Agriculture/Industry/Financial Policy Technocrats/Officers
9. Research Institutions and Academia.
10. Civil Society Organizations
11. Development Partners with interests in Agriculture and Climate Change
12. Metrological Services Department
Date and Venue
Date: 24 August 2016
Venue: Andy Miller Conference Centre, Harare Show Grounds
Host Institutions: NECF & ZAS