Dialogue 2017

Background
The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN ) is a regional multi-stakeholder policy research and advocacy network. The network engages with targeted constituencies at local and national levels, through its current 17 member countries in Africa. FANRPAN’s work seeks to build resilient food systems across Africa through creation, implementation and assessment of food, agriculture and natural resources policies that are both evidence-based and developed in partnership with non-state actors.

FANRPAN’s work is guided by three strategic goals:

  1. Transformed African agriculture and food systems through the development and implementation of evidence based policy;
  2. Adequate, safe and nutritious food for Africa and;
  3. Climate change resilient and resource sustainable food systems in Africa.

Why the Focus on Resilience of African Agriculture and Food Systems?

Agricultural productivity in Africa remains low per unit of input, with little significant increase. This is amplified by restricted access to inputs such as “appropriate seeds, crop protection mechanisms, technological enablers, extension advisory services, productive resources; soil health and land for cultivation”. In addition, the link between nutrition and agriculture, and the role of agricultural transformation in preventing malnutrition, remains undefined. Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment compared to other regions in the world, with increasing numbers of malnourished or stunted children in Africa is increasing. In addition, Africa in particular will be the most vulnerable region to climate change globally due to infrastructure challenges, poverty and poor governance. Africa’s smallholder farmers are more vulnerable to environmental shocks and the ecosystem degradation” brought on by climate change and other natural disasters. Overuse of water and deforestation due to agricultural practice are exacerbating the climate change challenge at the local level for example through soil erosion and nutrient depletion, and at the global level through, for example reduced carbon sequestration.

Furthermore, economic inequality and poverty is prevalent in rural areas and Africa’s smallholder farmers lack information and reliable markets for their products. Government policies sometimes do not address their interests at the level necessary to be effective and poorly maintained infrastructure, fragmented geographical locations, and trade barriers impact the potential for transformation and growth. There is therefore an urgent need to develop strategies, programmes and policies to ensure resilient global‐, national‐, and community‐level agricultural and livelihood systems, institutions, and policies so that food and nutrition security can be achieved for all in Africa.

FANRPAN will convene the 2017 Regional Multi-stakeholder Food & Nutrition Security Policy Dialogue under the theme “Resilient African agriculture and food systems: securing prosperity and health for all” from 15 -17 August in Durban South Africa.

Policy Dialogue Format and Objectives

The two day policy dialogue will identify knowledge and action gaps, share lessons on viable instruments, institutions, policies, and contribute to consensus on priorities for appropriate investment and action by different actors/stakeholders for building resilience for food and nutrition security. The Policy Dialogue program will feature a wide range of plenary sessions. A Knowledge Fair will run alongside the conference in order to facilitate informal interaction, learning, and collaboration among participants.

The content and discussions of the regional policy dialogue will draw on research from FANRPAN projects which include:

  1. Strengthening policy advocacy and research capacity for enhanced food security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SPARC) funded by The African Capacity Building Foundation;
  2. Improving Nutrition outcomes through optimized agricultural interventions (ATONU) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation;
  3. Post-Harvest Management in Sub Saharan Africa funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – Helvatas Swiss Intercooperation;
  4. Increasing irrigation water productivity through on farm monitoring adaptive management and agricultural innovation platforms funded by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research and;
  5. Partnerships for African-European partnerships for Agriculture Research and Development Partners (PAEPARD) funded by the European Union /Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.

The specific objectives of this regional policy dialogue are:

  1. Evaluate emerging developments that pose significant threats to food and nutrition security;
  2. Assess experiences and draw lessons for using programs, policies, institutions, and investments to build resilience of agriculture and food systems;
  3. Determine key approaches and tools for building resilience of agriculture and food systems at varying levels;
  4. Identify knowledge and action gaps in research, policy, and programming;
  5. Set priorities for action by different actors at regional and nation levels.

Expected Outcomes
The Policy Dialogue will produce a number of outputs, including policy briefs, Dialogue proceedings, and information tools including videos and PowerPoints presentations. A range of communications tools and strategies will be employed to help key stakeholders better understand how to effectively build resilience for food and nutrition security. It is FANRPAN’s hope that these outcomes will inform regional policy agendas and in the longer term, lead to improved policies, investments, and institutions that build resilient food systems across Africa through the assessment, creation, and assessment of food, agriculture and natural resources policies that are both evidence-based and developed in partnership with non-state actors.

Who will attend the Regional Policy Dialogue?
The Regional Policy Dialogue participants will include representatives from:

  • 17 FANRPAN Country Node Coordinators
  • Relevant governments ministries and departments,
  • civil society member/non-government organization
  • farmers organizations
  • intergovernmental organization (including UN entities)
  • research/extension/education organization
  • financing institution
  • private sector
  • youth organisations