SADC, Germany urged to deepen cooperation on food security

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Gracious Madondo

SADC ambassadors accredited to Germany have been urged to deepen cooperation with European Union member country in fighting hunger and ensuring food sustenance in the region.

The call was made at the just-ended conference on Food Security and Rural Development that took place in Germany from 29-31 May.

In a statement released after the conference, member states concurred that almost half of the food produced in Africa is lost due to poor food processing methods hence the need to deepen relations with Germany in the exchange of ideas.

 “Approximately 40-50% of food produced in Africa is lost due to false food processing practices and the use of inadequate food processing equipment,” the ambassadors said. .

Karl- Heinz Knoop, the founder of Reila, a family owned company which specialises in crop production and harvest production of crops who addressed the meeting, said in the past the SADC region was involved in false food processing practices and the use of inadequate food processing equipment affecting their yields.

"This leads to highly unsustainable outcomes of well-intended but poorly executed aid projects. To achieve realistic health and socio-economic targets change has to occur on the grassroots level by helping small-and self-sufficient farmers to reap profit from their produce,” said Knoop.

The conference was attended by 12 SADC ambassadors, their representatives and Germany stakeholders from various levels to promote dual education and selected agricultural machines and methods that will contribute to improve food security in the region.

Namibian ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, applauded Germany for taking a lead in championing global food security.

“Such approach in the global arena should be championed by Germany and its business, political and civil society leaders at a time when others emphasize ‘my-country-first’, isolationists approach, endangering equitable economic development and global peace. One such 'Ubuntu' target arena is the sharing of knowledge, skills and technology which adds value to land,” said Guibeb.

Christoph Kannengieler, Head of the African Association of German Business (Afrika Verein), underscored why Germany was a good cooperation partner for African countries and what was required for successful cooperation.

He used the opportunity to call upon the SAD Ambassadors to advocate German small-to-medium enterprises to their governments. A more investor-friendly environment, better regional integration, advanced logistics and infrastructure, more private sector involvement in development cooperation and improved coordination between the German International Development Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) and private companies in development projects in Africa were crucial requirements for effective development cooperation between Germany and African countries.

Philipp Laass from Hermes spoke about financing and export credit guarantees, presenting to the delegation the role and involvement of export credit agencies in trade transactions across countries and continents. He presented Hermes’ approach and success, promoting it to become a suitable partner for German and African companies that wish to create a market in the other country. 

Anja Karlizceck, Federal Minister of Education and Research, underlined the importance that Chancellor Merkel’s government attaches to cooperation with Africa. Proof of that commitment were the initiatives launched since Germany’s G20 Presidency 2017 by the various Federal German Government Ministries, such as the Foreign Ministry’s “Marshall Plan with Africa”, the Finance Ministry’s Compact with Africa and the Economic Affairs Ministry’s Go Africa Policy.

Reinhold Hemker, president of the German-Zimbabwean Society, contributed to the discussion about the development of a dual education system in Africa by providing valuable insights to practical education, training and further education as key to prosperity.

While acknowledging existing practical training and activities in Africa, Hemker expressed concern that the focus of international cooperation in education development was still too academic. To improve international cooperation in the education sector, for instance in exchange programmes and dual education programmes, coordinated education values and systems needed to grow on federal and national levels. 

The conference concluded with proposals for concrete follow-up steps on education and agriculture development cooperation between Germany and the SADC member states.

 

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