The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Food Agriculture and Natural Resources says most SADC member states except Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa will experience maize deficit in the region this year.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Director Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Margaret Nyirenda disclosed this during a media briefing held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) in Botswana today.
Ms. Nyirenda said Zambia and Tanzania recorded a maize surplus of 880, 000 metric tonnes and 810, 000 metric tonnes respectively while South Africa has 310, 000 metric tonnes.
She however attributed the poor yield to poor budgetary allocation and low donor support from the international community.
Other factors that have contributed to the low food production in the region include unfavorable climate change, increase in population, poor health and sanitation, high poverty levels and rapid urbanisation, among others.
“Increase in national and donor support as well as assistance from the private sector is inevitable if food security in the SADC is to be sustained,” she explained.
However, she observed that even though Zambia has recorded a surplus in food production, the country‘s humanitarian assistance has increased to 798, 948 this year from 351, 267 last year.
“SADC region is cognizant of the increased number of vulnerable people who require both food and other humanitarian assistance,” explained Ms. Nyirenda.
Ms. Nyirenda however hastened to say that the regional body is making strides in order to improve the lives of its people within the region.
“The region continues to ensure that food security is attained at both house-hold and national level. Agriculture, food security and prudent management of natural resources remain at the epic centre of the SADC region,” she added.
The SADC Director Food Agriculture and Natural Resources explained that most parts of the SADC region recorded poor rainfall for the period 2014/2015 with prolonged dry spells in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe.
“Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique experienced both floods and prolonged dry spells,” Ms. Nyirenda noted.
Ms. Nyirenda stated that the availability of maize which makes up more than 75 per cent of total cereal production is this year forecasted at 31.73 million tonnes as compared to 36.79 million tonnes in 2014.
She expressed concern that with such a record in place, it meant that the total requirement for the region for 2015 is estimated at 32.93million tonnes, reflecting an overall maize deficit of 1.20 million tonnes.
The media briefing, among others, is a run-up to the 35th Ordinary Session of the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit that will start on 17 August, 2015 in Botswana.