Starvation stalks Africa

HARARE - Africa will only be able to feed 13 percent of its two billion-plus population in 2050, if governments such as Zimbabwe do not take measures to address climate change, experts warned.

Currently, at least a third of Zimbabwe’s 14 million population faces hunger due to the devastating effects of the El Nino-induced drought.

Food security organisations and vulnerability assessments conducted in the country estimate that almost half of Zimbabwe’s population would be food insecure by next year, as drought, flooding and poor food production haunt the country.

Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP22)’s steering committee head of press and communication Samira Sitali told journalists during a Morocco trip that Africa needed to be part of the decision-making processes in fighting climate change, if its hunger narrative is to change.

“In 2050 we will be able to only feed 13 percent of the population if we don’t do anything to fight climate change and this is dramatic,” she said.

“ . . . our continent has to be part of the solution and part of the decision so that we find solutions to make things change,” Sitali added.

Zimbabwe’s situation has also been worsened by reduced food production as farmers turn to cash crops such as tobacco, resulting in major deforestation as the growers cut down trees to cure the commodity.

Morocco’s Agriculture minister, Aziz Akhannouch, said a proposal has been made to prioritise agriculture at this year’s COP to be held in that country’s city of Marrakech in November.

“It is up to agriculture that will provide food security to the world and it is agriculture that will need to find solution.

“We want to put agriculture at the heart of climate change. Agriculture is a solution to climate change . . . for example when you plant trees you have a great resistant to climate change,” Akhammouch said

“This COP is Africa’s COP, we need growth of agriculture, we need about four percent increase of agriculture. For us we plant each year 12 million trees, including fruit trees, citrus ” he said, citing examples of how Morocco had converted land previously used for cereal crops to citrus plantations.

Although countries in the Southern hemisphere are not the main causers of climate change, they may suffer the greatest share of damage in the form of declining yields and greater frequency of extreme weather events, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation reported.

“A recent study estimates that continued rapid expansion of bio-fuel production up to 2050 would lead to the number of undernourished pre-school children in Africa and South Asia being 3 and 1,7 million higher than would have been otherwise the case.

“Therefore, policies promoting the use of food- based bio-fuels need to be reconsidered with the aim of reducing the competition between food and fuel for scarce resources,” the report said.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.