Executive Secretary, Southern African development Community, (SADC) Dr. Lawrence Stergomena Tax, has at a recent SADC Council of Ministers meeting held in Harare, Zimbabwe confirmed that late last year’s floods and rains of early this year, has threatened food security in the Southern Africa region, NaijaAgroNet reports.
NaijaAgroNet learnt that the food security situation in the region is expected to be less than satisfactory during the 2015/16 marketing year as a result of poor rains in most parts of the region, dry spells in some areas, and floods in other areas.
Dr Tax, NaijaAgroNet learnt, expressed dissatisfaction over the situation, noting that SADC would continue to monitor the situation and support early warning for food security and vulnerability assessments in the member states.
In a report on food security assessment presented at the 34th SADC Summit held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe in August last year, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the region had recorded a cereal surplus of more than 670 000 metric tonnes during the previous agricultural marketing season year.
This, according to the report, was mainly attributed to good rainfall, better access to inputs such as seeds and fertilizer, as well as credit facilities and extension services.
NaijaAgroNet also learnt that the floods of which affected parts of Southern Africa between late last year and early this year, left 200 people dead and 500,000 displaced in Malawi, while in Mozambique, about 27, 838 households suffered losses in cash crops.
Meanwhile SADC during the council meeting, deliberated on innovative ways of dealing with problems associated with changes in weather patterns, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, said it was now time for the region to seek ways to curb increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods which adversely affects key sectors of the regional economy including agriculture.
Mumbengegwi, who is also Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister, told NaijaAgroNet that SADC to help deal with poor rains, would invest more in regional water infrastructure development such as irrigation, allowing the region to farm all year around and not only depend on climatic conditions to deal with poor rains.
As agriculture is the backbone of most economies in southern Africa, and more than 62 percent of the SADC region’s 277 million people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Council of Ministers, would canvass for an increased budget allocations to agriculture as well as targeted subsidy programmes that would result in farmers accessing agricultural inputs and farm implements at cheaper rates.
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