17 May 2016 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 17 MAY (NAMPA) - The recurrent food crises in the southern African region are largely a result of growing poverty, high vulnerability and low resilience to climate change.
This is the view of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat in a media statement issued on Monday after member states convened for a one-day workshop on food security and poverty eradication in Gaborone, Botswana.
The workshop took place on Monday.
The workshop recommended the adoption of climate smart technologies such as drought tolerant varieties, conservation agriculture, water harvesting and efficient use of water and the use of renewable energy. Diversification of livelihood support systems should be promoted in order to enhance resilience, it said.
Under the recommendations, member states suggested the strengthening of regional and national information systems including early warning and monitoring systems, and acceleration of the establishment of the regional disaster preparedness fund. In addition, member states should scale-up risk insurance and management initiatives to safeguard vulnerable households against loss of assets and income during disasters.
Member states also endorsed the promotion of farming as a business. It suggested that this will require identification of farmers who have the potential to operate farming as a business.
The statement further said aggregation of farmers should be promoted to realise the economies of scale in production and marketing and farmers should be supported to establish small and medium enterprises for agro-processing and value addition. Deliberate efforts should be made to create an enabling environment for the youth to participate in agri-business, according to the statement.
It also said production should be linked to markets to open opportunities for finance and investment, while promotion of value addition and beneficiation should be given priority in order to increase farmers incomes.
Member states should also increase investment in critical infrastructure for agriculture such as market access roads; storage and cold chain facilities; energy (especially alternative energy sources); Information and Communication Technology (ICT); water harvesting and irrigation schemes. Another suggestion included the strengthening of the design and implementation of social protection programmes targeted at the poor and vulnerable population in areas such as quality education, skills development, employment, health, safety nets and risk management.
However, in implementing these, there is a need to minimise the dependency syndrome and market distortions, it added.