Winter wheat now a food security crop: ED

Mnangagwa urged regional countries to put in place strategies to cushion citizens in times of drought.

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that Zimbabwe has adopted winter wheat as a pivotal food security crop amid worsening droughts caused by climate change in recent seasons.

Mnangagwa revealed this during a Virtual Southern African Development Community (Sadc) extraordinary summit held yesterday where regional leaders discussed the humanitarian crisis caused by the El Niño-induced drought.

Collectively, Sadc appealed for US$5,5 billion in assistance to feed millions affected by the drought.

aMnangagwa said it was urgent and imperative that Sadc member States scled up the implementation of bold action to mitigate the effects of climate change-induced disasters, while building robust adaptation measures as well as long-term resilience.

Mnangagwa urged regional countries to put in place strategies to cushion citizens in times of drought.

“In this respect, Zimbabwe has adopted a wheat-based food security matrix, which taps into our comparative and competitive advantages in growing wheat during winter seasons.

“We look ahead to future seasons with optimism, anchored by our increased dam capacity and land under irrigation. Science, technology and extensive mechanisation as well as improved seed varieties will continue to be deployed to bolster agricultural production and productivity. A new Strategic Grain Reserve concept, has been adopted,” Mnangagwa said.

He added: “In creating the right institutions to drive our mitigation and adaptation strategies, we have transformed our Agricultural Rural Development Agency as a strategic institution to become the ‘food, feed, fibre and seed’ security agent for our country.”

Mnangagwa said the Africa Risk Capacity Sovereign Drought Insurance Policy had been endorsed as a disaster risk financing mechanism to augment current response approaches.

Sadc executive secretary Elias Magosi, who spoke during the official opening of the summit, said the effects of the El Niño-induced drought and floods experienced in some of the countries within Sadc necessitated the extraordinary meeting.

The leaders used the platform to map a way forward in terms of dealing with the food shortages in the affected countries.

Meanwhile, Sadc chairperson, Angolan President Jaoa Laurenco said Sadc would be appealing for international support given the region’s dire food security situation.

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