Agriculture and Co-operatives Minister Ben Kapita says there is need for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region to match food production with the population growth.
Mr.Â Kapita says the region would continue to look to other countries forÂ food importsÂ if it fails to match population growth with agriculture output.
The Minister was speaking when he opened the SADC forum for ministers responsible
for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources in Lusaka today.
He noted that although the region has enjoyed more than 20 years of regional
co-operation, it has not yet attained satisfactory levels of food security and
Mr.Â Kapita observed that the region remains vulnerable to climate change, HIV/AIDS
and unresolved conflicts.
Speaking at the same function, SADC Deputy Executive Secretary Dr. Joao CaholoÂ said
the food security for the region was not encouraging.
Dr. Caholo disclosed that region has a cereal deficit of 4.35 million tones in
2007/2008 as compared to 2.18 million tonnes recorded in 2006/2007 farming season.
He however said some member countries that include Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania are
expected to have surplus maize.
Meanwhile,Â Dr. Caholo announced that the secretariatÂ has signed a grant of $US7.5
million to fund a project on food security capacity building on residue controlÂ and
another on the strengthening of institutions for the management of trans- boundary
animal diseases in the region worthy $US21.6million.
And Chairperson of the Ministers Mr. Ramohotsi expressed concern at the delay in the
implementation of regional programmes.