from PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA – MORE people than ever in the last 15 years are food insecure in Southern Africa.
The number has risen to 51,3 million, according to findings by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme (RVAA).
It is the highest figure recorded by the programme since inception in 2006.
The latest figure comes as the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the subsequent lockdowns continue having a disastrous impact on food and nutrition security in Southern Africa.
“This figure (nonetheless) does not fully factor in the impacts of COVID-19,” SADC RVAA stated from Angola.
The agency said based on the available data, the COVID-19 pandemic had a limited impact on food production.
“However, while the region produced sufficient staple cereals for the 2020/21 consumption year, distortions in the distribution of this food continues to limit access for those that need it, in particular vulnerable populations facing disruption to commerce and livelihoods.”
Before the lockdown, SADC was on course to reach levels of food insecurity similar to the previous year, when 41,2 million in the 16-nation bloc were in need.
That itself was the highest figure in a decade.
SADC RVAA stated that the urban poor were suffering since the start of the lockdown as they relied 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.
The region also faces crop pests and animal diseases.
In addition, poor rainfall and economic challenges affected Zimbabwe, while dry conditions impacted harvests in Eswatini, Lesotho, Angola, southern Madagascar and Mozambique.
Rural food insecurity is expected to peak until January 2021.
– CAJ News