What will it take to build sustainable, resilient food systems in African countries? This was among the questions considered at the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit in late July. The summit, the first of its kind in this century, aims to identify bold, innovative actions, with measurable outcomes. These actions are needed to achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals in what the UN has dubbed the “Decade of Action”.
The sub-Saharan Africa region holds potential for expansion for South African agribusinesses, but the approach to doing business will have to adapt to country-specific practices at the start.
The United States Department of Agriculture reaffirmed its view that Zimbabwe’s 2020/21 maize crop could amount to 2,7 million tonnes, almost 200% from the 907,628 tonnes produced in the previous season. Notably, this is the largest harvest since 1984/85. With Zimbabwe’s annual maize needs at roughly 2,0 million tonnes, there will be enough, and the country could even export if needs be, something that would be the first since 2001, when the country last exported maize.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the global food system under sustained pressure and has triggered various policy responses to manage supply and demand.
Some thoughts on Zimbabwe’s decision to suspend all maize and maize meal imports with immediate effect. Zimbabwe was the single largest maize export market for South Africa in the 2020/21 marketing year, accounting for 20% of maize exports.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, concern immediately arose that sub-Saharan Africa faced a potential worsening in food insecurity.