Application of green economy approaches will enhance Africa’s agricultural sector, ECA
The use of green economy principles and approaches in agricultural development can help improve Africa’s livestock production, says Ms. Mmadima Nyathi, Director of Research Statistics and Policy Development in Botswana’s Agricultural Development and Food Security Ministry.
Ms. Nyathi was speaking at the opening of an experts group meeting on “Fostering Sustainable Transformation of Agriculture in Africa through Inclusive Green Economy: The Case of Livestock Value Chain in Southern Africa” that was organised by Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community.
Overstocked grazing areas continue to be degraded, the Director said, raising the need for new ways of doing things to sustain the livestock industry.
She said the agricultural sector in Botswana offers a lot of opportunities for economic diversification, growth and employment creation, especially for the majority of the population in rural areas.
Ms. Nyathi said the sector’s potential was hampered by inefficiencies along the product value chains which adversely affected the flow of produce to lucrative domestic and export markets.
The study report under review, she said, was important as it offered an opportunity to examine the application of the green economy to enhance sustainability of the livestock sector, and facilitates comparison of value chains and learning from different countries of the southern African sub-region.
For his part, David Mfote, Assistant FAO Representative in Botswana, said this was the time for the southern African region to unite forces to realize the full potential of livestock sector.
He said sustainable livestock value chains were at the heart of FAO’s five strategic objectives. He said the FAO was committed to developing green livestock value chains to create employment and income generating projects as well as other social benefits, particularly for women and youth.
ECA Special Initiatives Division’s Mr. Oulmane, Chief of the Green Economy and Natural Resources Section, said agriculture had potential to better serve economic, social and environment imperatives of Africa.
He explained that the theme of the meeting was on transforming Africa’s agriculture to tackle major weakness and binding constraints to unleash the optimal potential of the sector, including safeguarding and enhancing the productivity and health of the natural resources and environment, which are the basis of agriculture.
He added that “mainstreaming green economy principles and approaches into agricultural development stands out as one of the strategic interventions that African governments could pursue towards the sustainable transformation of the sector”.
Mr. Oulmane said this augured well with the development priorities and objectives of SADC region.
He reiterated one of the key principles endorsed by SADC Council of Ministers of Agriculture in August 2014 that SADC Agricultural programmes “should aim at maintaining the region’s natural capital and, along with both social sustainability and economic sustainability, contributing to sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
In this regard, the ECA section chief said SADC had adopted a regional green economy strategy and action plan for sustainable development aimed at catalysing socio-economic transformation of the SADC region towards a resource efficient, environmentally sustainable, climate-change resilient, low-carbon development path and equitable society.
The study was an important tool that would provide SADC countries with guidance and policy options for mainstreaming inclusive green economy into the livestock sector, said Mr. Oulmane.