The Southern African Development Community (SADC), needs to have a robust and resilient agricultural sector to ensure food security, according to SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
At the official opening of the SADC Council of Ministers in South Africa this week, Tax in a statement said as the region continues to be affected by poor weather and adverse climatic conditions that continue to stifle growth in agriculture, the need for a strong agricultural sector remains critical.
According to Tax as the Region has just experienced a poor rainfall season in 2017/18, notwithstanding, some notable improvements in January and February, the 2018 agricultural production will be negatively affected, and result in food insecurity for many households.
"The region has also experienced the outbreak of the fall army worm that has had devastating impacts on cereal production particularly in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is likely to result in food shortages particularly in the staple maize crop in these countries," she added.
"It is for this reason that our industrialization agenda has prioritized development of value chains, in among others, agro-processing supported by other mechanisms to compliment household food security," she said, emphasizing that cooperation in this area remains critical.
In 2016 SADC's Vulnerability Assessment Results indicated that over 41.4 million people were food insecure with 21 million people requiring immediate assistance in Southern Africa.