The SACCAR board of Directors comprising Directors of Agricultural Research institutions, Sector coordinators in the Food, Agriculture and natural resources (FANR) and a representative of the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine meets twice a year to discuss the programme of activities pertaining to the food, agriculture and natural resources sector coordinated by SACCAR. The Board recently held its 32nd meeting in Mbabane, Swaziland from the 5th to 7 th May, 1997. The Chairman of the Board of SACCAR, Dr. L. P. Gakale, who is also the Director of Agricultural Research in Botswana welcomed Board members by pointing out that SACCAR is in a transition period following the Council of Minsters recommendation to transform SACCAR into a Sector Coordinating Unit. However, Dr. Gakale that the implementation of the Council decision has been suspended subject to the results of the rationalization study by of the SADC Programme of Action to be discussed at the Council meeting in August, 1997. He further stated that agriculture and natural resources research and training was an important area of cooperation, but presently there is no mechanism in place to substitute it as an area of regional cooperation.
After these preliminary remarks, Mr. Nkambule, Permanent Secretary in the Kingdom of Swaziland officially opened the meeting by stating that " it is a well known fact that African countries depend largely on agriculture as a source of employment, income and wealth, and failure of agriculture to grow by 4-5% annually will adversely affect prospects for food security which will exacerbate poverty". He further stated that the agricultural sector in the SADC region faces major problems of food production, high population growth, lack of or declining job opportunities which were previously more pronounced in rural areas. The region also faces a number of constraints that limit its capacity to address these problems, including weak institutions and shortage of human and financial resources. He however, noted that the SADC national governments have instituted agricultural and economic policies to facilitate agricultural production and, to promote environmental conservation.
The meeting reviewed progress in its mandate areas since the last Board meeting which was held in Pretoria. South Africa in November , 1996.
Copyright Chris Lungu, SACCAR, Private Bag 00108, Gaborone, Botswana email address: email@example.com