SADC secretariat mulls food security think-tank

12Aug 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
SADC secretariat mulls food security think-tank

THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) is set to establish a special foundation that will address food security challenges in the trading bloc.

Domingos Gove, the director of food, agriculture and natural resources in the SADC Secretariat.

Domingos Gove, the director of food, agriculture and natural resources in the SADC Secretariat, said yesterday that this initiative is among a chain of actions set to be launched to address the problem.

Addressing reporters yesterday, he said that during the last crop season most southern African states apart from South Africa and Zambia recorded food deficits.

Gove attributed the situation to rainfall, cyclones and unfavorable climatic conditions.

“We had the lowest rainfall this season, actually the lowest to be registered for the last 15 years in the entire region,” he said.

Calamities such as cyclone in case of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar and Comoro made the situation in relation to agriculture quite bad, he said.

“In the food balance sheet produced by each of the member states, the balance in South Africa and Zambia is too small to supply all countries that are in deficit,” he stated.

SADC was closely monitoring the situation through the Climatic Service Centre, he elaborated.

In every quarter the centre launches projections of the climatic situation for the next three months for all the 16 member states so that stakeholders are well informed, he pointed out.

He said the secretariat was also working with national vulnerability assessment committees and early warning unites to agree and define on a contiguous plan to ensure every country is not heavily affected.

“We are working to ensure that policies and programs in all member states are harmonized so that we walk as one for all inhabitants of each of the 16 nation bloc,” he further noted.

The secretariat was working on a program meant to address agriculture production and productivity and areas of promoting trade in agricultural products, he remarked.

On his part, the secretariat’s communications and public relations officer Innocent Mbvundula said it is high time a friendly environment for each bloc member state was created.

This would enable member states access markets of more than 350 million inhabitants.

Mbvundula noted that SADC countries are doing whatever it takes to break trade barriers to ensure business was conducted under minimal restrictions within the bloc.

The regional bloc has 33 protocols of which 25 have already ratified by member states, he added.