Southern Africa: Climate change speed up food insecurity

Gaborone, Botswana – 29 million people are affected by food insecurity in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in the year of consumption 2018/2019.

The figure represents 14 percent of the total population, according to the State of Food Insecurity and Vulnerability in Southern Africa report.

The report was compiled from the results of the 2018 vulnerability assessments and analysis of 11 SADC Member States.

According to the document, the number of people affected by food insecurity is 13 percent higher compared to the period 2017/2018.

The number dropped from 38 million to 27 million in 2016/2017.

Over the past 10 years, the region’s food insecure population has remained above 22.7 million.

The proportion of children with growth retardation is increasing in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles and South Africa, with DRC, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zambia having a high prevalence of short stature above 40 percent.

Regarding cereal production, reports from nine SADC member states on cereal production for the 2018/19 period indicate that the region has a cereal surplus of 6 million and 294.000 tons, against 7.5 million tons for cereals in the same countries in the previous year.

The report points to climate change as the main factor behind food and nutritional insecurity, given the region’s propensity for such variations, indicating that between 2014 and 2016 the region suffered the worst drought in 35 years caused by the El NiAo phenomenon.

Thus the first crop of 2017/2018 was affected by a long period of drought, from the end of December 2017 to January 2018 in the central parts of the region, causing a significant negative impact on the plantations.

Source: Angola Press News Agency