The conference on food security, attended by several African researchers, policymakers and practitioners, was organised and funded by the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom in collaboration with the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (UN-IDEP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS, Zimbabwe), and the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR, Senegal).
The aim was to critically analyse the gendered intersections of food security, migration and innovation systems in Africa.
Vhumbunu’s paper was titled: Boosting Food Security and Restoring Local Food Systems in Zimbabwe through Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs): A Prescriptive Approach. Building on lessons learned from practical experiences mostly in Asia, China, Taiwan, and Singapore, he examined the possibility, rationality, utility, practicality and mechanics of designing and implementing Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZs) in Zimbabwe in order to boost and integrate food productivity, processing and marketing while restoring local food systems.
Vhumbunu presented a workable and viable format, structure, design and operational modalities for SCPZs, whilst arguing that ‘SCPZs present an opportunity for the establishment of integrated agro-processing hubs along Zimbabwe’s five agro-ecological regions which would assist to boost food security, reduce post-harvest losses, restore local food systems through the development of agro-processing value chains, and ultimately act as a launch pad for the country’s industrialisation’.
He believes this will assist to complement the objectives and priority targets of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Agricultural Policy and the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
‘I am grateful for the financial support from the University of Edinburgh, UN-IDEP and UNECA which covered my travel, accommodation and subsistence costs involved in attending the conference.
My experience in Dakar provided opportunities for networking, useful exchanges and identification of areas of possible research collaborations with fellow researchers. Such networks are always valuable to the University,’ said Vhumbunu.