By Nation Reporter
ZAMBIA is the only country in the SADC region currently forecasting a cereal surplus of about 556,000 tonnes in the 2016/17 marketing season, says director for food, agriculture and natural Resources, Margaret Nyirenda.
Ms Nyirenda said this would be achieved despite the devastating El Niño-induced drought in the region.
She said the severe drought conditions had resulted in widespread crop failure, hence poor harvest in the region.
She said cereal harvest assessments indicated a nearly 9.6 million tonnes shortfall in production, with only 72 per cent of required cereals available in the region, excluding DR Congo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania.
Ms Nyirenda said South Africa, usually the main producer of maize in the region, was facing an estimated 2.6 million tonnes deficit, as food prices continued to rise, adding that only Zambia was currently forecasting a cereal surplus of about 556,000 tonnes during the 2016/17 marketing year in the region.
Ms Nyirenda said SADC was deeply concerned about the scale of food insecurity in the region.
She said the SADC region had been hit by a devastating El Niño-induced drought, the worst in 35 years, following the failure of two consecutive rainy seasons.
Ms Nyirenda said almost half a million drought-related livestock deaths had been reported in Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa and Zimbabwe, saying water sources and reservoirs were severely depleted, forcing communities and their livestock to use untreated water sources.