Lack of efficient and effective animal disease control, marketing infrastructure and poor market access to livestock products continue to dampen prospects for an improved and increased livestock production in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) national director, Pamela Kuwali, has further disclosed that smallholder farmers are especially affected by poor market access and availability of information.
“Livestock production offers an opportunity for accelerated economic growth. However, low productivity, lack of efficient and effective animal disease control, lack of marketing infrastructure, and poor market access of livestock products, hinder the achievement of self-sufficiency in livestock products,” she said.
Kuwali made the remarks in Lilongwe on Thursday during her presentation on SADC Regional Agriculture Policy at a capacity building workshop for community radio stations and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) members of staff.
NICE Trust organized the workshop with financial support from the European Union (EU) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to impart knowledge and skills on radio producers and NICE district civic education officers (DCEOs) to enable them play a key role in the popularization on SADC regional integration initiatives and awareness raising about the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Kuwali emphasized that although the region basks in varied natural endowments, the majority of its population are food insecure, further attributing this to low agricultural productivity, low trade of value added agricultural products both intra-regionally and internationally, inadequate and oftentimes inefficient input and output markets.
“The other challenges facing agricultural production in SADC countries are inadequate investment and financing in and for agriculture; and heightened levels of vulnerability to economic, socio-economic and environmental factors. Aggravating the situation are factors including climate change; commodity price fluctuations; the continued impact of the global economic downturn on people’s access to cash income; and the continuing devastation of the HIV and Aids pandemic, among other critical factors and lately Covid-19 is likely to negatively impact agriculture within the region,” she said.
But Kuwali pointed out that SADC has devised a number of programmes aimed to, among others, increase investments in and access to finance for
The other programme aims to reduce vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector brought about by climate change and variability; socio-economic factors such as gender inequality, HIV and Aids and migration; and food insecurity in a changing economic environment.
Mchinji NICE DCEO Paul Kanyenda noted that authorities at the Capil Hill have generally demonstrated lack of political will to popularize the decisions or protocols that Malawi signs to the citizens.
Kanyenda said this has, in turn, disenfranchised ordinary Malawians from participating in the implementation of various trade protocols and treaties the country has signed over the years.
“When demand is raised from the community, there is no one who takes up the challenge at the Capital Hill and sort out the problems that community members have expressed. It is therefore not surprising that there is too much hiding of information at border posts in terms what the cross boarder traders should know about the protocols for the benefit of cross boarder business,” he narrated.