Zambia’s food security threatened – JCTR
By Staff Reporter
ZAMBIA’s food security has been threatened due to adverse effects of changing weather patterns, Jsuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has observed.
In a statement, JCTR social and economic development officer Paul Chileshe said dry seasons, increased temperatures and flash floods had threatened food security in the country resulting in hunger and increased price of key foods like maize.
“Shortage of rainfall may also affect the generation of electricity in the country as the country largely relies on hydro power generation which depends on rains,” he said.
Chileshe stated that JCTR had always cautioned government on the need to diversify the agriculture sector, as this could stabilize domestic prices of essential food commodities even in the face of changing climatic conditions.
“The government has been slow to actualize diversification and this has had perennial negative effects on prices of basic household essentials,” he said.
He disclosed that the JCTR Basic Needs Basket for the month of March for a family of five in Lusaka increased by K212 to K5, 543 from K 5, 331 in February 2019.
“The most significant increases were recorded in the price of charcoal which increased by K27 from K132 in February to K159 in March per 90kg. “Mealie meal increased by K14 from K86 in February to K100 in March for a 25 kg bag”.
Other commodities recorded minimal increments and reductions.
Chileshe said that JCTR warned government against lifting the ban on the maize exports as the decision would affect the commodities prices.
“JCTR notes that the cost of food items on the market has remained high and continues to steadily increase making it unaffordable for many households. The BNB shows that the cost of food items increased to K1, 657.15 in March from K1, 495.86 in February. The huge rise in the cost of food commodities means families that still rely on fixed sources of income will have to forgo some of their basic needs which affect their quality of life negatively making the already poor households even
poorer,” he said.
Chileshe indicated that the addition of new crops or cropping systems to agricultural production is a sustainable solution to food security and an addition to the farmer’s income.
“Government needs to work with farmers and the private sector to promote crop diversification,” he said.