Food security under threat

Dr Joseph Made

Dr Joseph Made

Runyararo Muzavazi and Tatenda Charamba—
Southern Africa’s recovery from the El-Nino-induced drought that ravaged the region last year is under serious threat following menacing outbreaks of crop pests and livestock diseases, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made has said. He said this on Tuesday in a speech read on his behalf by permanent secretary Mr Ringston Chitsiko during a Southern and East African Countries’ Conference on ways of mitigating the spread of crop pests and animal diseases held in Harare.

The three-day conference, which ended yesterday, was running under the theme: “Preparedness and response actions to emerging high impact trans-boundary crop and livestock pests and diseases.”

“The 2016/2017 season is facing increased trans-boundary crop pests and livestock disease outbreaks, posing a serious threat to agricultural livelihoods, thereby weakening the El-Nino drought recovery efforts instituted by governments and smallholder farmers in the region,” said Dr Made.

“Notable among these outbreaks are the cereal crop-eating caterpillars (fall armyworm) that have infested maize fields. In response, the Government of Zimbabwe launched chemical spraying operations to control the pest, in an attempt to mitigate its impact.

“The fall armyworm, which I understand is a new invasion in Southern Africa, the African armyworm and the Tuta absoluta on the tomato crop — another new invasion — are the major pests causing havoc in the farming community.”

Dr Made said that although managed in Zimbabwe, the foot and mouth disease remained a threat in areas declared as disease-free.

Animal diseases affect the quality of food (meat and milk), livestock products (hides and skins) and animal power (traction and transport). Prices of tomatoes have been on the increase due to shortages induced by the damage to the crop by the leaf miner.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) sub-regional coordinator Dr David Phiri suggested measures to be taken into consideration. “There is urgent need to raise awareness and to strengthen the surveillance, preparedness and response capacities of affected and risk countries in the Southern and Eastern Africa region,” he said.

Southern Africa is reeling from effects of the El Nino induced drought that affected 40 million people and reduced the availability of food by 15 percent, with a cereal deficit of nine million tonnes.

Representatives from Southern African Development Community, government officials from African countries including Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda and other non-governmental organisations are attending the conference.

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    • Madara

      lol, retarded.

  • anon

    Liars – pants on fire.

  • haiwawo

    Another ready made excuse I see. Whether it rains well or not, Made always has an excuse ready to pull out of the bag.

    Dry spells are not a new thing. Pests are not a new thing – they may be a new species but that has always been the cycle.Nothing new again in foot and mouth disease. It used to be managed well and w would export beef consistently till this lot started to gut systems that protected the industry.

    The ministry should be prepared. It shows the chronic ineptitude of the leader which is why I question kuti wakachera papi? In other countries where ministers are held accountable for the outcomes in their ministry, he would have walked the plank a long time ago.

  • Kire

    The type of army worm is that which is found in America, we seem to have found something that is not scientifically proven to control it but is working all of a sudden in Zambia there is also a new type of locust also never found in Africa but again in America which has landed in Zambia and could potentially be swamming Zimbabwean side soon. They destroy a whole field in no time. Hapeno!!!!! Vane maziso vaona, vanepfungwa vafungisa.

  • marufu

    Overall command of man or God?

  • succuba

    Good morning my fellow colleague….. even my answer to you got deleted for no reason…. hope this helps.

    Have a good day my friend…

    • theheraldonline

      I see that, let me see why that is happening. Seems it’s an automated deletion, which is not proper at all.

      • succuba

        Thanks for the feedback.