The Director of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Southern African Development Community ( SADC), Ms Margaret Nyirenda, said agriculture, food security and prudent management of natural resources are vital in SADC region, NaijaAgroNet reports.
She said that food production in most parts of the region was hampered by unfavourable climatic conditions, increase in population, poor health and sanitation, adding that SADC is facing a cereal deficit of over six million tonnes emanating from the poor rainfall and floods that befell the region in the 2014/2015 season.
Nyirenda was addressing the 35th Ordinary Summit of Heads of States and Government in Gaborone. She said the 2014/2015 rainfall season was poor in most parts of the region with prolonged dry spells in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, southern Angola and Zimbabwe, gathered NaijaAgroNet.
She added that Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique experienced both floods and prolonged dry spells and that the poor rainfall led to an unsatisfactory regional food security situation for the 2015/2016 year.
Ms Nyirenda, NaijaAgroNet learnt, said the deficit of 6.33 million tonnes of cereal include the five most consumed cereals in the region such as maize, wheat, rice, millet and sorghum compared to a surplus of 1.21 million tonnes in the 2014/15 year .
She said the regional cereal availability for the 2015/16 was estimated at 40.23 million tonnes representing a drop of 22 per cent from 45.62 million tonnes last year. Ms Nyirenda added that the requirement for the region this year was estimated at 32.93 million tonnes, reflecting an overall maize deficit of 1.20 million tonnes.
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Pix: Ms Margaret Nyirenda,