Food insecurity in Zambia: Together we can

Filed under: Special Comments |
935 Views

Recent reports emanating from the Regional Inter-Agency Standing Committee (RIASCO) and the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group (FNSWG) overview of the SADC food Security Situation, reveals that about 2.3 million people in 87 out of 118 districts of Zambia, are estimated to be facing food insecurity.

Areas which have been greatly affected and have reached starvation levels (referred to as phase 4 food insecurity situation) include the three districts namely Gwembe (Southern) with 15,000, Shangómbo (Western) 13,000 and Lunga (Luapula) with 6,000
Recent media coverage including several tabloid’s recent reports paints a very disconsolate picture where we see families surviving on wild foods like chipama, musekesa, busiku and others.

Zambia has, like other neighboring countries during the 2018-19 farming season experienced devasting effects of the climate change which has resulted in the huge decline in the staple food maize and cassava production thus putting the people at great risk of food insecurity.

They have been calls on the Zambian Government to declare the crisis a national disaster so that the international community can come to our aid. Yes the call may seem justified, but the Government position is that we as a nation have sufficient food stocks to avert any looming catastrophe. Commendable measures taken have been to ban the exportation of maize save for the contractual orders which needed fulfilling. This has been followed by the distribution of the staple food to affected areas.

PAST EXPERIENCE

This is not the first time that we as a nation are facing this kind of challenge. The droughts of 1992, 2001-2002 seasons, created massive food deficit that threatened over 2.3 million rural agriculture dependent households. The government then appealed to the international and local communities for food aid. This appeal received favorable responses locally and internationally. At the local level help came from government, local donors, family, communities and friends and from the international community. But the greater challenge was in the distribution process.

GOING FORWARD

Instead of politicizing and playing the blame games we as a nation need to bury our differences that divide us and rise to the challenge that is at hand.

Before we call on the international community, the question is, is the situation one we cannot handle and manage? Firstly, as individuals, families, churches, businesses we need to ask our selves what we ought to do to help the situation. Our leaders in Parliament should show leadership in this matter. Instead of bickering let them ask themselves what they can do as individuals before pointing to government and then government can take the lead. Am proposing that all the members of parliament should pledge to buy 20 x 25kg of mealie meal every month for the next six months and MPs in the affected areas should be able to buy 30 x 25 kg during the same period. An appeal should be made to all our churches in this country, to worker’s unions, to all marketeers, to all individuals and families, our chiefs across the country and business houses to heed the call and contribute. The Government can lead this initiative and make up any deficit of the requirement.

Our Church leaders wherever you are, our union leaders, our civic leader, our business friends of Zambia and all sundry come alive and take part. When we would have tried as a nation then the international community can come in.

It is possible for this initiative to gunner support and raise 100,000 x 25 kg every month which can be distributed to those affected families.

Further the Provincial Minister for Southern Province recently made a passionate appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture and OTHER STAKE HOLDERS to assist in transport logistics to move relief foods to affected areas. Surely this is the time to show brotherhood and responsible citizenship.

PAM whose mandate is to develop and build capacity, maintain and coordinate a network of local NGOs and Community Based Organisations (CBO) to mitigate in disaster times and implement recovery programmes throughout the country together with DMMU should coordinate the collection and distribution of donations. This will be coordinated by local MPs with their councillors.

We are a country that has stood as one and we can still stand as one and share the little food that we have. No one should starve. No one should be left to die. Together we can do it.

CHUNGU KABASO
HEAD-BUSINESS
UNIVERSITY OF AFRICA.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31