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At least $109 million needed for seeds and other agricultural inputs

 

Photo credit: FAO

Widespread crop failure has exarcerbated chronic malnutrition in the region.

 

Race against time in drought-ravaged Southern Africa to ensure 23 million people receive farming support

At least $109 million is urgently required for the provision of seeds and other agricultural inputs and services

With only a few weeks before land preparation begins for the next main cropping season, some 23 million people in Southern Africa urgently need support to produce enough food to feed themselves and thus avoid being dependent on humanitarian assistance until mid 2018, FAO said today.

A FAO-prepared response plan aims to ensure that seeds, fertilizers, tools, and other inputs and services, including livestock support, are provided to small-holder farmers, agro-pastoralists and pastoralists to cope with the devastating impact of an El Niño-induced drought in the region.

At least $109 million in funding is required to provide this urgently needed support.

Farmers must be able to plant by October and failure to do so will result in another reduced harvest in March 2017, severely affecting food and nutrition security and livelihoods in the region, FAO warned.

Worst drought in 35 years

Two consecutive seasons of droughts, including the worst in 35 years that occurred this year, have particularly hit vulnerable families in rural areas, as prices of maize and other staple foods have risen.

The result is that almost 40 million people in the region are expected to face food insecurity by the peak of the coming lean season in early 2017. All countries in Southern Africa are affected.

“The high levels of unemployment and sluggish economies, means that the main way people are able to access food is through what they themselves produce. Assisting them to do this will provide lifesaving support in a region where at least 70 percent of people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods,” said David Phiri, FAO’s Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa.

“We must make the most of this small window of opportunity and make sure that farmers are ready to plant by October when the rains start,” he added.

The FAO response plan covers 10 countries – Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – which requested specific assistance.

Responding to El Niño, preparing for La Niña

Read the full article: FAO

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SUGGESTION (Willem Van Cotthem)

Introduce container gardening

(see https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/)

 

 

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.