Hunger pangs grow as corona bites

news-image

Gaborone - The Southern African Community Development Community (SADC) says the region has enough cereals to feed its citizens, but distribution chain distortions - both pre-existing and pandemic-induced - could result in the worst food insecurity situation in decades.

This is contained in the latest “Synthesis report on the state of food and nutrition security and vulnerability in Southern Africa” by the SADC Secretariat.

The report says, “Currently, close to 51,3 million people in both urban and rural areas of Southern Africa are food insecure, the highest number ever recorded by the SADC RVAA (Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis) Programme, and this figure does not fully factor in the impacts of COVID-19.”

The report says while the region produced sufficient staple cereals for the 2020/21 consumption year, distribution distortions limit access, in particular for vulnerable populations.

“The urban poor have been suffering since the very start of the lockdown, as they rely wholly on the market for their food. The lockdowns have also disrupted rural livelihoods, particularly those activities and income sources linked to the urban economy. Diets have worsened as diverse varieties of food become unavailable, inaccessible and unaffordable to the most vulnerable households, contributing to malnutrition,” the report says. 

Data from 13 of SADC’s 16 member states shows that about 51,3 million people will not be able to access the food they need for an active and healthy life between January and March 2021. 

“This represents a 25 percent increase in the population food insecure from the previous year, and is the highest figure ever recorded by the SADC RVAA system,” the report says.

It continues: “DRC, South Africa and Zimbabwe carry the largest share of the region’s food insecure caseload. Most of South Africa’s reported food insecure population are chronically food insecure people who are in social protection programmes.

“DRC, Mozambique and Zambia are projected to have the largest increase in the number of food insecure people compared to their five-year average. Malawi, DRC and Eswatini show the largest year-on-year increases.”

The report also warns of the threat posed by crop pests and animal diseases.

In November, SADC launched a US$20 million appeal to respond to the spread of the African migratory locust (AML), which is threatening both the winter and summer crops. Seven million people who are still recovering from the impact of the 2019 drought may experience further food insecurity due to AML.

The SADC Secretariat adds that the region faces the triple burden of malnutrition characterised by undernutrition (stunting and acute malnutrition), over-nutrition (overweight/obesity), and micronutrient deficiencies.

“The SADC region has more than 18,7 million stunted children (being too short for their age). The stunting prevalence is above 30 percent - classified as very high - in nine of the 16 SADC member states. Reduction in stunting is occurring too slowly to meet the World Health Assembly 2025 or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 targets.”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Comments

image

Poachers have broken into Botswana’s p Read more...

10 Aug, 2018 at 01:58 PM

image

In a sign that Botswana is likely to cli Read more...

02 Jul, 2018 at 09:26 AM

image

Gaborone - Poachers have broken into Bot Read more...

04 Feb, 2019 at 07:35 AM

image

DAR ES SALAAM - DIRECTIVES on online for Read more...

02 Jul, 2018 at 01:24 PM

image

SADC leaders meeting in Tanzania this we Read more...

19 Aug, 2019 at 01:51 PM

image

A batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by Read more...

25 Feb, 2021 at 10:55 AM

image

South Africa remains at the forefront of Read more...

25 Feb, 2021 at 09:25 AM

image

President Hage Geingob on Wednesday said Read more...

25 Feb, 2021 at 09:21 AM

image

Namibian President Hage Geingob on Wedne Read more...

25 Feb, 2021 at 09:13 AM

image

Gaborone - The President of the Republic Read more...

24 Feb, 2021 at 03:15 PM

image

Lusaka - Amid myriad criticisms from soc Read more...

14 Dec, 2018 at 06:28 AM

image

Cape Town – Perhaps it is in the spiri Read more...

29 Mar, 2018 at 12:48 PM

image

Sharon Kavhu Windhoek - Namibian Minist Read more...

17 May, 2019 at 07:35 PM

image

In a sign that Botswana is likely to cli Read more...

02 Jul, 2018 at 09:26 AM

image

Harare- The newly formed SADC Basketball Read more...

05 Jun, 2020 at 12:57 PM