SADC countries also suffering from severe drought conditions

South Africa was not the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) currently experiencing severe drought conditions.

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This was the view of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and its World Food Programme (WFP) in a recently issued statement.

According to the statement, a combination of failed harvests in a number of SADC countries during the 2014/2015 summer together with the effects of ongoing drought conditions in the region would create an estimated 27,4 million food-insecure people over the next six months.

“Most at threat from immediate food insecurity are Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar which all suffered severe crop failure due to extended dry spells. There are also concerns about growing food insecurity in Lesotho and the southern parts of Angola and Mozambique. While Botswana and Namibia also suffered from extensive drought earlier this year, people in these countries are not considered as much at risk,” said the statement.

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Malawi was reportedly struggling with its worst food insecurity in a decade as a result of damage-causing floods that had then been followed by the current drought conditions. Zimbabwe’s harvest from its 2014/2015 summer crops was 50% down on harvests from the 2013/14 summer production season.

Farmer’s Weekly contacted eleven of South Africa’s fourteen fellow member countries in SADC to try and obtain reports on their agricultural production conditions. However, only one country, Namibia, responded.

Wallie Roux, of the Namibian Agricultural Union, said that the Namibian government had announced drought aid relief to its agriculture sector. Crop farmers were being subsidised with seed and fertiliser. Livestock producers were being incentivised to sell all excess stock in order to protect natural grazing resources, and transport subsidies were being paid to farmers who had found additional grazing and were willing to move their remaining animals to it.

The FAO said that it would continue to promote and support “the adoption of climate smart technologies for both livestock and crop production systems as a way to promote sustainable production and increased resilience among communities” in SADC.