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SADC Braces For Drought

THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Council of Ministers has urged members States, Zimbabwe included, to come up with contingency plans to address looming food shortages caused by poor rains.
The region’s 16 countries experienced poor rains in the 2021/22 agricultural season.
In a report, the regional council of ministers after its meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi on March 18 and 19 said millions of people in the region faced starvation.
“Member States received low rainfall that will affect crop production in the region and member States are urged to prepare contingency plans, taking into account areas with surplus and shortages of food production and through intra-regional trade, to deal with potential food shortages, and be able to assist food and nutrition insecure people,” the report read.
Public Service and Social Welfare deputy minister Lovemore Matuke last week told Parliament that there was no need to panic as Zimbabwe had enough grain in its reserves.
“It is our duty as the government to make sure that we attend to situations such as hunger.  Government intervenes by assisting with food.
“The problem that we have currently is that we had people who were on the food aid list at a time when the government had an intention to stop giving food aid this March to these people expecting that they would have enough food.
“But looking at the situation now, some people will not have any meaningful harvest and so the government will carry on
assisting people until the end of this year.”
He said the number of people on the government food aid list was likely to increase this year.
“I would like to assure the nation that government is working round the clock to assist people, especially those whose names are listed and are already receiving aid.”
Economist Prosper Chitambara, however, said: “It’s tricky for now to say that the government can actually meet the demand for food because we do not know how much we are going to produce from the fields although output is going to be lower.”
In 2020, the Sadc council meeting predicted that COVID-19 would disrupt food security and livehoods for the region’s 45 million people. _*NewsDay*_


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