Where We Work
Solidaridad manages programmes in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 218 million people live in extreme poverty, with the majority of the region’s populations living in rural areas and dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Southern Africa faces economic, climatic and physical challenges, such as variable rainfall combined with unsustainable agricultural practices. These issues cause the degradation of the soil and water resource base, upon which future agricultural output in Southern Africa depends.
A holistic approach to sustainability
Southern Africa has experienced significant economic growth over recent years. However, the benefits of these investments have mostly excluded the rural poor. Opportunities have arisen for smallholders to feed into local supply chains, but support is needed. For example, access to services to apply better practices to ensure that produce meets international standards.
Through the Practice for Change project, more than 36,000 smallholder farmers were supported to adopt good agricultural practices, while the LI-SAF project helped to bring over 60,000 hectares under sustainable management. Direct training for producers was complemented by policy work that engaged 145 stakeholders across 16 multi-stakeholder platforms, and 20 civil society organizations with capacity building and advocacy.
A new vision
We helped craft a new continental vision for Africa, and convened a dialogue on environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Implementation initiatives continued on the ground, while political turmoil and climate change-related events devastated smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. We brought more than triple our target of land under good agricultural practices, worked with the FAO and internal partners to rebuild lives after Cyclone Idai, and grew our gender-inclusive Soy programme.
Southern Africa is a food-importing region and imports have been growing in recent years due to economic growth. Expansion of the middle and upper classes in Africa will continue and it presents a huge opportunity for local farmers and entrepreneurs. Linking the economic growth of the cities to opportunities in rural Africa is a major challenge for the years ahead. Solidaridad Southern Africa is exploring how to make the most of this opportunity.
A strong position
Solidaridad Southern Africa has experienced an exciting year of learning and growth. The team has expanded, which has improved its expertise of critical innovation areas. A number of programmes were concluded in 2017 and this provided great opportunity for reflection. Going forward, Solidaridad is well-poised to take its strengthened team, new insights and learning, and embark on programmes in key commodities across the region.
Climate change had devastating effects on the region with Southern Africa experiencing its second rain-scarce season, leaving over 29 million people food insecure. With the majority of these populations living in rural areas and reliant on natural resources, addressing climate change through the inclusion of smallholder farmers and promotion of sustainable agriculture practices is at the forefront of Solidaridad’s mission.
Solidaridad Southern Africa had a very interesting and challenging year. There was a major internal change at senior management level while external economic, environmental and sociopolitical conditions were rapidly changing in the focus countries. These changes were driven by the shifts in global markets and the effects of climate change. Solidaridad continued its work in the cotton, fruits, vegetables, livestock, sugarcane and soy sectors.
Accessing the market
The horticulture programme aims to contribute to the upskilling and commercialization of smallholder producers in the sector in Southern Africa. With the goal of improving local and regional market integration and coordination along the horticulture value chain, partnerships with supermarket chains in the region have been initiated and strengthened with a focus on how best to reach smallholder producers at their level and need, to ensure inclusivity in the value chain.
Supporting good agriculture
Much like other regions of the world, smallholder soy producers in Southern Africa often suffer from low productivity. Solidaridad’s soy programme began in an effort to address this challenge and improve smallholders’ livelihoods and sustainable farming practices. The first project began in Mozambique in 2012 with the goal of improving smallholder production management, thereby increasing productivity and improving soil conservation.
Learning livestock management
While a growing middle class in the Southern African region has led to a steady growth in the demand for animal protein, livestock producers have faced significant challenges in terms of the drought that has affected the region for the past couple of years. The livestock programme aims to support livestock producers to improve management that can increase productivity and efficiency while simultaneously helping to reverse land degradation that has occurred across the region from unsustainable grazing patterns.
Producing sustainable cotton
In Mozambique, Solidaridad has successfully worked with one of the largest cotton producing companies, João Ferreira dos Santos (JFS), since 2012 to ensure smallholder cotton producers are equipped to produce more sustainable cotton. As the programme has grown, Solidaridad has focussed on improving infrastructure and the application of innovative cultivation techniques to enhance smallholder yields and better environmental management.
Inclusive tea value chain
Solidaridad contributes to a responsible and inclusive global tea value chain that ensures value is distributed fairly, smallholder tea farmers and workers benefit from decent working conditions, and tea is produced with respect to the environment. In Malawi and Mozambique, we assess, strengthen and establish MSPs where civil society is present, in engaging partnerships, thought leadership, advocacy and campaigns against harmful corporate culture and detrimental norms. We use the power of collective action for sustainable, transformational change in dialogues and engagements with workers unions, growers associations, processors and relevant departments and other decision makers.
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Get in touch
Want to know more about our work in Southern Africa? Get in touch with our team.
Continental Supervisory Board
Top row, left to right: Mandla Nkomo, Audrey Gadzekpo, Madiam Dao Gabala, Isaac Gyamfi
Bottom row, left to right: Kamau Kuria, Rachel Wanyoike, Graham von Maltitz