ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says there is need for countries in southern Africa to create a more comprehensive platform that will enable them develop strategies aimed at addressing challenges faced in the agriculture sector.
During a multi-disciplinary team meeting on Monday, FAO sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa David Phiri said the scale and complexity of the challenges in the agriculture, particulary in the livestock sector, such as climate change has negatively affected food security in the region.
Mr Phiri noted that FAO member countries need to formulate collaborations to help enhance the implementation and monitoring of resources aimed at creating innovative ways of developing, fisheries and livestock sector in the region.
â€œThe main focus of this meeting is to provide a podium for all of us to discuss, share our experiences and more importantly, provide guidance and devise strategies to achieve our mandate,â€
â€œSouthern Africa is faced with a predicament and the impacts are been felt across all [economic] sectors and particularly, in agriculture both crops and livestock, therefore, an overwhelming number of people expected to be food insecure,â€ he said.
FAO is confident in building partnerships and working in a co-ordinated manner to bring forth change and save lives in communities and will continue providing financial and technical guidance to member state to enable them build administrative capacities that will in turn yield positive results.
Earlier, Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa said FAO has significantly contributed to the development of the agriculture sector in the country.
Mr Shawa cited programmes such as post-harvest handling of fruit and horticultural products, the strengthening of livestock information management system and the formulation of the national agriculture investment plan as being among the projects that have been implemented with support from FAO.
Others include the introduction of oil palm trees in the country, capacity building in the identification and management of the Asia fruit fly and the introduction and up scaling of conservation agriculture among others.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka