SADC predicts good seed production

Friday, August 11, 2017

Despite the negative effects of last year’s El Nino-induced drought, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) predicts a surplus in seed production.

“The impression now is that in terms of seed production, we are much better. Yes there will be challenges here and there but in general as the region, we are [doing better than] expected,” said Bentry Chaura, the SADC Director for Food and Agriculture on Friday.

He was speaking to the media ahead of the 37th Ordinary Summit, which will be held in Tshwane next week.

Chaura attributed the positive trend to the Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF), which showed that most parts of the region received normal to above normal rains for the October - December and January – March periods, with only a few countries receiving below normal rains.

The regional cereal deficit stood at close to 7.4 metric tonnes last year, which was 11% below the five-year average, dropping from 29 million tonnes in 2015 to 26 million tonnes in 2016.

Annually, the region needs to produce over 52 million tons of crops such as maize, rice, wheat and sorghum, among others. However, last year there was a seed deficit of over seven-million tonnes as the regional bloc declared the region a disaster area, with the negative impacts of drought threatening a humanitarian crisis.

Millions were affected by depleted food reserves and rising food prices, while lower commodity prices, slowing economic growth, among other key factors, exacerbated the situation.

The drought has also led to scarcity of water supply for both human and animal consumption, which saw over 600 000 livestock and some wildlife being lost.

Since then, Chaura said the region has approved the SADC Regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Strategy. This will see the region put in place a regional logistics team to coordinate an immediate response, as well as long-term measures to reduce the impact of the drought, so as to get a surplus seed production. - SAnews.gov.za

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