Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Late Delivery of Farming Inputs to Affect Food Security – CSO-SUN

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Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition (CSO-SUN) Country Director Matthews Mhuru has warned that the late delivery of farming inputs for the 2022 to 2023 farming season is likely to affect Zambia’s food security.

Mr Mhuru stated in an interview that for an input dependent country like Zambia, agriculture is key to food security but has been neglected and this will result in having a negative impact on the ordinary Zambian.

He mentioned that the vulnerability assessment conducted by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit – DMMU which concluded that close to two million people in Zambia need urgent support, adding that these findings should worry the country.

Mr Mhuru noted that any further assault on the agriculture sector will mean that more people will languish in adverse poverty.

He said that for a long time now, the nutrition sector has been highly dependent on donor funding, a situation he says the government should address this year.

Meanwhile Mr Mhuru has demanded that the Government should focus on empowering small scale farmers in order to encourage production of variety crops to safeguard the nutrition sector.

Speaking in a separate interview, Mr Mhuru said that empowerment of commercial farmers did not guarantee food security as most of their produce was exported.He stated that it was prudent to provide adequate empowerment to small scale farmers as they grow crops for local consumption and are capable of securing the nutrition sector.

He said that the Nutrition sector was one of the critical sectors and should be given priority if the country is to combat malnutrition in the country. Mr. Mhuru said home grown solutions such as empowerment of small scale farmers by the government are essential to the country’s food security.

Mr Mhuru noted that malnutrition needs to be curtailed if the country can see meaningful development, as healthy human resources are critical in developing the country.

In November last year, The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (CSO-SUN) urged the government to intensify and quickly respond to the expected food insecurity that is likely to affect 1.9 million people in the country.

This came to light after the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit – DMMU National Coordinator Gabriel Pollen disclosed that the 2022 in depth vulnerability and needs assessment report revealed that over 1.9 million are at risk of food insecurity between November 2022 and march 2023 which has been attributed to floods and dry spells experienced in some parts of the country.

And reacting to this revelation, CSO-SUN Country Director Matthews Mhuru mentioned that this is a serious matter of concern which requires urgent humanitarian response from various stakeholders to build resilience and reduce the shocks that the food insecurity may bring.

In an interview, Mr Mhuru further urged those who will be responsible for responding to food insecurity to ensure the response is nutrition sensitive to meet the vulnerability demands in different ages and secure Zambia’s nutrition status.

The 2022 Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit – DMMU In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Report revealed that over 1.9 million people are at risk of food insecurity in Zambia.

DMMU National Coordinator Dr. Gabriel Pollen stated that the Assessment was conducted in 91 districts in all the 10 provinces of Zambia, in order to ascertain the impact of the 2021/2022 Rain Season on the livelihoods of citizens.

Dr. Pollen said that the In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment also sought to provide an understanding of the multi-faceted impacts of the shocks faced during the 2021/2022 rainfall season namely; prolonged dry spells, floods, economic shocks, diseases, and pest infestation.

He cited that during the 2021/2022 rainy season, some parts of the country recorded normal to above normal rainfall which resulted in flooding in some parts of the country while others experienced some dry spells.

Dr. Pollen said that 50 districts needed humanitarian assistance while the main sectors identified as having been affected by the floods and dry spells were Agriculture and Food Security and nutrition, Health, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.

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