This week Southern African Development Community (SADC) has moved to eradicate poverty and tighten food security through a successful ministerial workshop held in Gaborone.
The session is the first of a triad of workshops which seek to address pertinent issues to the welfare of the region – namely the illegal trading of wildlife along with water and energy scarcities.
The workshop comes at a time when the region is immersed in severe drought induced by El Nino – subsequently reducing accessible water and grazing plains, which in turn have had adverse effects on the quantity of livestock and crops in the region.
A multitude of member states have been forced to increase their consumption of stored food reserves as well as plunging into monetary reserves.
These circumstances have exacerbated the already widespread problem of acute and chronic malnutrition within the region.
As it stands Botswana is one of the most affected countries in the region and have responded by introducing a 50% Government subsidy increase on selected livestock feeds.
Speaking at the Workshop, Dr khama – President of Botswana and Chairperson of SADC, remarked; “The latest climate data confirms that our region is indeed currently experiencing the worst drought conditions in over two decades. This will result in a decline in local food production, accompanied by a continued rise in food prices.”
The Chairperson also touched on the inextricability of food security and poverty eradication and the complexities involved in addressing them.
He urged various sectors to address the two challenges as a common agenda.
The workshop comprised of specialists and ministers from a variety of fields and regional states who as a result of their expertise identified numerous solutions for the region’s dire situation.
These resolutions include but are not limited to; implementation of continental and regional policies, increased budget allocations for agriculture, increased disaster preparedness funds, diversification of livelihood support systems, the integration of Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), innovative social protection to reduce poverty and building new partners for sustainable development goals.
Although, the workshop was a success, the focus shall now turn to the implementation of the solutions offered.
As South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries so eloquently put it – “We want to focus on results. Not programmes, not activities but results”