07/04/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/04/2023 01:56
For the video of SADC PF delegate, Ms Kate Bilankulu, please click: https://we.tl/t-ocUzrumECw
Parliament, Tuesday, 4 July 2023 - The South African delegate to the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) 53rd Plenary Assembly Session, Ms Kate Bilankulu, yesterday proposed the inclusion of the progress made in the implementation of the Malabo declaration, the establishment of youth-focused agriculture platforms and mainstreaming of youth Parliaments as an engagement strategy.
Ms Bilankulu made the proposals during the opening symposium of the five-day SADC PF 53rd Plenary Assembly that started yesterday in Arusha, Tanzania, themed, "Modernizing Agriculture to Address Food Insecurity and Youth Unemployment in the SADC Region: Role of the Parliaments".
In her address, Ms Bilankulu reiterated the critical role played by the agriculture Sector and how it has untapped potential to become a reservoir of employment opportunities for the youth. She implored all SADC member parliaments to invest in youth capacities to become drivers of improvement in agriculture and food systems by providing appropriate training, education, mentorship opportunities and access to new technologies.
She said the exposure to such opportunities would enable young people to break through employment barriers and play a crucial role in the development of the agriculture sector as the industry offers a host of career opportunities beyond farming, including macroeconomists, soil scientists, plant production specialists, agricultural scientists, and food technologists. However, she added the need for Parliaments to ensure youth awareness of all the opportunities and networks available to them.
Considering the various opportunities available for the young people of the SADC region, Ms Bilankulu proposed that all SADC member parliaments engage their national ministries of agriculture on how far their respective countries have implemented the commitments made under the Malabo Declaration. She said as parliamentarians, through oversight work of the legislature, the spotlight should focus on the national ministries of agriculture on progress made.
The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods commits governments to create job opportunities for at least 30% of the youth in agricultural value chains, as well as SADC's various agriculture-related initiatives aimed at achieving food and nutrition security and creating employment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
Secondly, she called for the SADC PF to establish consistent platforms focused on Youth and Agriculture to enable sustained interaction between young people and Parliamentarians. She said this would allow the youth to share their experiences in the agriculture sector, learn about current agricultural support programmes in the region, and be exposed to diverse career opportunities in agriculture.
Lastly, she encouraged Parliaments to mainstream youth and agriculture in the national Youth Parliaments as an engagement platform for discussions on agriculture, sharing experiences, learning about agricultural support programmes, and building linkages with potential partners and networks in the sector.
Following the symposium on the theme of the 53rd Plenary Assembly, the President of Tanzania, her Excellency Dr Samia Suluhu Hassanhe, officially opened the 2023 53rd SADC PF Plenary Assembly.
The objectives of the 53rd plenary session are to discuss the importance of growing and modernising the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of most economies on the African continent, along with ways to create income and reduce poverty to address food insecurities.
The programme of the five-day Assembly, amongst others, includes the swearing in of new members, country reports on progress made on the implementation of the decisions of the 52nd Plenary Assembly in DRC, consideration of the Executive Committee reports on Financial and policy matters, Standing Committee, and regional Women's parliamentary caucus reports.
The National Assembly Speaker, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is the leader of the parliamentary delegation and will today address the Plenary on progress made in implementing the decisions of the 52nd Plenary Assembly that took place in December 2022 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The parliamentary delegation includes Mr Seiso Mohai, Ms Nkhensani Kate Bilankulu, Mr Desmond Moela and Mr Darren Bergman. The Secretary to Parliament, Mr Xolile George, also forms part of the delegation.
The Plenary Assembly, which meets twice a year and is hosted by one of the member Parliaments on a rotational basis, is the policy-making and deliberative body of the SADC Parliamentary Forum which is constituted by the Speakers and up to five other representatives elected by each national Parliament.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo