Ahead of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development in May, Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda of Farming First went into the BBC studios to discuss what the priority objectives for agricultural policy should be in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Sibanda discussed the key principle of the Farming First plan as well as highlighting recent work of her own organisation FANRPAN on identifying the most vulnerable households in villages for targeted support. She discusses how African countries are spending $19 billion each year on the import of key staple foods despite the fact that 70% of the population is smallholder farmers with the potential to grow their own food.
Dr. Sibanda argues for the need to improve productivity in a sustainable way. Knowledge transfer and investment in infrastructure and resource management skills are key in achieving this. For instance, many farmers use recycled seeds which yield only 10% of the harvest that new seeds would bring.
Under these principles, agricultural policy should aim to help farmers eventually ‘self-help’ and become self-sufficient.
Listen to the full broadcast of Dr Sibanda here:[audio: drsibandabbcnetworkafrica.mp3]