This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.
6 July 2017. Lusaka Zambia. A new private sector driven regional body, the Southern Africa Grain Network (SAGNET) has been registered to unify the grain value chain in southern Africa. All interested parties are invited to follow SAGNET’s activities on the Facebook page and the website
Inter- and intra-Africa trade has become very important for all the countries on the continent. Improving the performance of the agricultural sector is seen by many stakeholders as critical in achieving accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction in Eastern and Southern Africa. The first focus area is the standardisation of processes and the harmonization of grading regulations. To allow participation of trade it is also important to develop a regional market information system that provides for reliable crop estimates as well as information regarding farmer deliveries, imports and exports in order to estimate each country’s supply and demand situation per commodity.
SAGNET membership will include private sector value chain actors from Southern Africa countries drawn from four sectors of the value chain, i.e. production, processing, trading and service providers.
SAGNET will eventually consist of 15 country private sector representatives who can invite organisations, individuals and private companies from their own countries. Participation by the various actors will be open, voluntary and based on agreement on a common agenda. The first SAGNET board will be headed by Jacob Mwale from Zambia, and he will be supported by Daniel Gerson (Mozambique), Mariana Purnell (South Africa), Grace Mhango (Malawi) and Julius Wambura (Tanzania).
SAGNET was registered as a not-for-profit organisation in January 2017 in Lusaka Zambia, also the current location of the head office. The organisation is supported by the UK government department responsible for aid in other countries, Department for International Development (DFID) through its programme FoodTrade ESA implemented by DAI. SAGNET’s private sector mobilization with a membership and stakeholder reach spans the greater Southern Africa region giving the organization a strong voice in advocacy to engage with governments and also with regional economic communities towards the improvement of the policy and trade environment.
SAGNET’s role and mandate is aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Regional Trade Promotion of Grains/Staple Foods
- Regional Harmonization & Coordination
- Policy Advocacy – to reduce trade barriers
- Capacity Building & Stakeholder participation