Cereal output in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) decreased by approximately 21 percent year on year in 2015 due to drought, SADC chairman Ian Khama said on Monday.
"The crop production during 2014/15 rainfall season was especially affected by prolonged dry spells in Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia which also extended to the maize belt of South Africa, Southern Angola and Southern Zimbabwe while Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique were affected by both floods and dry spells," said Khama, also Botswana President.
The droughts in the region has not spared the livestock sub-sector and reflected in a loss of grazing, diminished water sources, increased incidences and prevalence of animal disease, resulting in high mortalities in some countries in the region, he said in a keynote speech at the SADC ministerial workshop on food security and poverty eradication held here on Monday.
"I note with grave concern that according to SADC regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Synthesis reports, 40 percent of all SADC citizens are currently living in abject poverty and it is for this reason that poverty eradication has become the overarching objective to the SADC regional integration agenda," said Khama.
He said women, youth and the poor should be engaged in agricultural production and distribution. Therefore policies and necessary resources should be made available to facilitate their access.