The overall food security situation in southern Africa is set to remain
stable throughout the year following another successful farming season.
SADC has now recorded three consecutive years of good harvest. Satisfactory
yields recorded in the last three years as well as good rainfall predicted
between October and December could effectively mean that the region’s food
security situation would remain secure until next year and even beyond.
The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) predicts that much
of the southern half of the region will have higher chances of normal to below
normal rainfall between October and December. The rest of the region and most of
Madagascar and Mauritius are likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall
during this period.
As a result of the consecutive years of bumper harvest and a good rainfall
forecast, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) projects that
southern Africa would have sufficient food to meet its requirements.
“Food security conditions are projected to remain stable across the region
through December. Staple food supplies remain satisfactory following three
consecutive years of average to above‐average crop harvests regionally,” FEWSNET
said in its recent food security assessment.
FEWSNET said most markets in the region would remain adequately stocked with
staple foods, including those in deficit areas, as available foods find their
way from surplus to deficit areas through formal and informal trading.
Prices are expected to continue following normal seasonal patterns, with a few
exceptions mostly in markets around high consumption or deficit areas.
Southern Africa has managed to turn around its fortunes from being a food
deficit region to one producing surplus grain due to various agricultural
interventions by national governments to boost production.
These interventions include investing more in improved agricultural inputs such
as seeds and fertilizer as well as targeted subsidy programmes that result in
farmers accessing agricultural inputs and farm implements at cheaper rates.
Member States have pledged to allocate at least 10 percent of their national
budgets to agriculture and rural development to improve food security in the
region. This is in line with the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and
Food Security signed by regional leaders in 2004.
The Dar es Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security adopted a number
of priority areas on which the region should focus in the short-term (2004-2006)
and medium-to-long term (2004-2010) to achieve food security.
A progress report prepared by SADC Ministers responsible for Agriculture and
Food Security said the implementation of the declaration has significantly
contributed to food security in the region with some countries experiencing
bumper harvests in the last few years.
For example, Malawi has moved from being a food deficit country to one producing
surplus grain for other SADC countries. This phenomenal increase in production
has saved the country a yearly budget of US$120 million that it had spent in
2005 importing food.
Other countries such as Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe that have vigorously
implemented the agricultural plan have seen production rising steadily.
For example, of the 32 percent increase in cereal production recorded in SADC
between 2005 and 2009, Botswana (though not a major cereal producer in SADC)
recorded the highest increase, thus highlighting how countries are working
towards boosting production and improving food security in their respective
countries as well as the entire SADC region.
However, despite bumper harvest in most SADC countries, there has been concern
over the large numbers of people requiring food and non-food assistance in the
region due to various factors. These factors include high prices of fuel, low
income, low prices for some of the cash crops and outbreak of livestock diseases
and human disease such as the spread of HIV.
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SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985