Minister in the Office of the Vice President Sylvia Chalikosa says the dry conditions which have characterised this year’s rainy season are expected to continue in Southern, Western, Lusaka, Central and parts of Eastern province.
Mrs. Chalikosa says the forecast for the next ten days still does not raise any hope and this may worsen the already compromised food security and nutrition situation for most of the agrarian households in the afore-mentioned provinces.
She told Parliament in a Ministerial statement that the current relief distribution will therefore continue, but in an expanded form to bring on board districts that have been affected this current season.
Ms. Chalikosa said the Ministry of Agriculture will soon be in the field to do the crop forecast for 2018/2019 production season while the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit and other stakeholders use this information together with the rainfall performance for the season from ZMD to establish the number of districts that are likely to be food insecure.
She said the DMMU has already started doing a desk top analysis of the situation and will move in the field earlier than the conventional period April or May of each year when we conduct an in-depth vulnerability and needs assessment.
Ms. Chalikosa said the DMMU is also developing concept notes to include cooperating partners since the caseload of food insecure households will significantly increase.
Meanwhile, Ms. Chalikosa said the Northern part of the country which is agro-ecological zone three has on the contrary received above normal rainfall.
She said a number of critical infrastructure such as crossing points have been damaged and some completely washed away.
She however clarified that the dry spell that Zambia is experiencing is a regional problem that started sometime during the mid of January, 2019.
Ms. Chalikosa said other countries that have suffered from the dry spells are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
She said SADC is concerned with the prevailing dry spell and in view of this, a number of meetings have been lined up with the latest being the one which was held in Namibia and another, ongoing in Ethiopia.