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Region may face food shortages in 2004/05 season

[Angola] Grinding maize in Ussoque Huambo. IRIN
Southern Africa is anticipating a hike in the price of staple foods with the drop in production
Most southern African countries may not be able to meet their food requirements for the 2004/05 season as a result of poor rains, a regional food security meeting in Mozambique warned. The region is also anticipating a hike in the price of staple foods due to projected low production. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held a Mid-season Strategic Assessment and Disaster Preparedness Meeting in the Mozambican capital Maputo from 4 to 6 February to review the impact of erratic rainfall during the 2003/04 season. Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe were named as the countries most affected. "Even the near-normal rains forecast for the February-to-April period may not improve crop conditions in Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, southern Mozambique, southern Malawi, and parts of South Africa," said a SADC statement issued at the end of the meeting. However, SADC predicted that food production prospects may improve in parts of central Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe if the remainder of the season saw normal rainfall. The meeting noted that countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa had recorded low water levels in their rivers, dams and groundwater as a result of the drought conditions. Meanwhile, heavy rains in the upper Zambezi, Cunene and Okvango basins had led to flooding in parts of Botswana, Angola, Namibia and Zambia. Crops along the rivers were either submerged or washed away. SADC is expected to hold a follow-up meeting when its members report back with the numbers of citizens in need of food assistance.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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