SANATSANAT - 10th Anniversary Workshop
South African Network of Animal Traction 
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10th Anniversary SANAT Workshop Press Release

“Strategies for promoting animal traction as a power source for small-scale farmers”

A South African Network for Animal Traction (SANAT) workshop was held at the University of Fort Hare, Province of the Eastern Cape, South Africa from 3rd to 7th November 2003. The workshop was attended by 60 participants from 11 countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Scotland and England. The participants included: 14 farmers, both small-scale and commercial, government officials, researchers, promoters, NGO trainers and community development agents. The workshop was officially opened by Mr John Allwood, Director of Development in the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The theme of the workshop was “New networking strategies for SANAT/ATNESA, which will place animal traction at the fore front of sustainable development in the 21st century”. The main objective of the workshop was to bring together farmers, national, regional as well as international specialists involved in training, research, policy making, development and extension relating to animal traction. Specifically the workshop was aimed at:

  • Celebrating SANAT’s 10th anniversary and to review its activities since its inauguration.

  • Conducting a SWOT analysis of animal traction networks in Africa.

  • Sharing experiences with farmers and various promoters of animal traction.

  • Identifying new roles which animal traction technologies and networks can play in the development of agriculture in Africa.

  • Proposing strategic action plans and goals for the next decade.

The participants shared experiences and achievements in promotion and support of animal traction in their various operation areas. The workshop also shared present and future needs and requirements in improving draft animal power utilization and management. A strategic program was proposed which will enable SANAT and ATNESA to fulfil their roles as dynamic, effective and representative networking organizations which can guide the progress of animal traction.

The workshop identified a number of issues to be addressed by ATNESA and SANAT over the next decade. These touched on policy, socio-economic, technical and environment issues which, inter alia, included the following:

  • Sensitising policy makers on the potential contribution of animal traction to rural development and poverty alleviation in general

  • Strengthening ATNESA/SANAT linkages with other networks on cross-cutting issues such as HIV/Aids and conservation agriculture

  • Enhancing operation of the networks through private sector involvement, incorporating new initiatives as well as fund raising and publicity

  • Mainstreaming animal traction as a cross-cutting issue in rural development with emphasis on gender and inclusion in education curricula

  • Empowering farmers and animal traction practitioners through participatory research, technology transfer and training in proper animal welfare and utilization

  • Promoting entrepreneurship and marketing through provision of appropriate rural transport and support services

The need for a policy on animal traction was identified as an essential component in empowering rural communities. It was also necessary to foster research and training and extension support at a national level. The importance of linkages and networking with institutions and various organizations undertaking relevant research and development cannot be over emphasized. This was identified as a vital element in ensuring that potential applications are channelled to target groups. 

There is no doubt that there is agreement amongst professionals in considering animal traction not only as a 21st century technology but also as a viable and sustainable power source for smallholder farmer empowerment and poverty alleviation. 

November, 2003

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