Smallholder farmers, and particularly women, are on the frontline in the fight against hunger and climate change in southern Africa. Unequal access to resources, poor access to finance and limited linkages to markets to sell their produce impose critical constraints, and food insecurity and poverty are the direct outcomes of this failure. In countries such as Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, between a quarter and half of the population are classified as being chronically undernourished. This briefing note argues that although policy makers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are aware of these challenges, they urgently need to move beyond rhetoric to an action-based agenda that will catalyze smallholder-led development in the region.
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