The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

SADC countries advised to utilize their deserts in growing Dates and Grapes

Countries in the Southern Africa Development Community can utilize deserts and other semi-arid areas for alternative forms of agriculture.

The cultivation of drought resilient crops such as dates and grapes, in hot arid areas, was cited as some of the best options in the region’s efforts to address the problems of food insecurity and youth unemployment.

At least, they were among the various suggestions in the intervention coming from Namibia as presented at the 53rd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum taking place in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Namibian Member of Parliament, Vipuakuje Muharukua, said while his country is blessed with ample tracts of land, they are experiencing acute water shortage but as far as he is concerned, there are crops that thrive well in dry areas such as dates and grapes.

Legislator Muharukua pointed out that the drought resilient grapes and dates also do well commercially as cash crops in addition to being sources of nutrition.

In other words, African deserts can produce global desserts.

The case example was the central Dodoma Region in Tanzania, which happens to be a rocky, windswept, semi-arid precinct which is globally renowned for its succulent grapes, vineyards and quality wines.

It was during the consideration of the Report of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The report was presented by its chairperson Ishmael Onani the Malawi Congress Party legislator, during the third day of the Regional Parliamentary Forum.

The house adopted the report titled “The 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 Youths to invest in agriculture.”

Additional inputs from Namibia came through a young lady parliamentarian, Hon Utaara Mootu who stated that while the SADC agenda to initiate the youth into agriculture, infrastructural development in farms still leave a lot to be desired.

“Unless our agricultural systems are modernized, it will be difficult to convince young people to work in the sector,” she pointed out.

Contributions from Tanzania urged the regional parliamentarians to cast their eyes and support to women peasants in the SADC countries who are essentially working very hard to feed their families.

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