It has just been reported that more than 41 million people in ten countries within the Southern Africa Development Community will be facing hunger in 2023.
Tanzania was mentioned among the ten SADC member states whose residents are likely to suffer from acute food shortages this year.
This is according to the report tabled by the SADC Parliamentary Forum’s Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources to the 53rd plenary Assembly Session taking place in Arusha.
The standing committee named other countries that are predicted to face hunger in 2023 as Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Report of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources as presented by its chairperson Ishmael Onani the Malawi Congress Party legislator, during the third day of the Regional Parliamentary Forum.
In their report committee members reported to the Forum that there are currently more than 18.7 million stunted children in the region due to hunger and malnutrition.
Things were said to be getting worse in the region due as there was a general increase in the cost of living, including significant hikes in the prices of major staples.
Climate change and global unrest, on the other hand, were described to be major causes of rising costs of living, diminishing resources and limited supplies.
On the situation of hunger, the Committee noted that 70 percent of people in SADC relied on agriculture, which made up more than 20 percent of the SADC region’s GDP.
However, from 2019 to 2020, there was a decline in funding for agriculture and in the period of 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2023; 55.7 million people were food insecure.
The Committee recognized the importance of the agriculture sector in the SADC region as being the ultimate solution in alleviating.
Agriculture has been pronounced to be eleven times more effective than any other sector, including oil, gas and mining services in influencing economic growth.
It was also stated that Agriculture influences economic growth in the region and could actually help millions of people out of poverty.
Regarding the SADC commitments on agriculture and food Security at the United Nations, the African Union and SADC, the Committee listed several commitments that Member States were supposed to fulfill in promoting agriculture.
The commitments include Sustainable Development Goals on ending poverty and hunger; the African Agenda 2063 and Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program 2025 and the seven Malabo Commitments.
The theme of the committee report is, ‘Situation of hunger and food insecurity in the SADC region, challenges fueling food insecurity, major international goals and African agenda, investments and performance of Malabo commitments, environment that can attract the youth to invest in agriculture.’
The report was adopted by the Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in Arusha.