Farmers in southern Africa should start adapting, planting drought-resistant crops and concentrating on short season varieties as the frequency of droughts intensifies. Farmers should also be encouraged to grow traditional crops that are more drought-resistant and adaptable to climate change. Hybrid varieties of both livestock and crops as well as long season varieties should be the preserve of those with irrigation.
Zimbabwe and most other SADC countries should step up efforts to harness water from dams and other sources to promote irrigation and enhance water supply to the region’s rapidly urbanising population.
In addition, governments across the region need to urgently plan to mobilise humanitarian assistance to support food requirements of the vulnerable populations.
This comes as southern Africa — which is in the grip of a crippling drought — is set to experience another severe round of drought in the 2019–2020 cropping season, worsening the food security situation which has left millions in need of food assistance.
GEOGLAM monitoring Initiative
According to the latest Global Agricultural Geo-monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM) special report on the Southern Africa 2019 -2020 cropping season, the entire Southern African region is forecast to receive below-average rainfall that may affect crops and reduce yields sharply.
The GEOGLAM forecast, to some extent, contradicts the SADC regional rainfall forecast for the 2019-2020 cropping season which predicted that most SADC countries were likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall.
Predictions issued by climate experts at the 23rd Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SACORF-13), which was held in Angola in September, indicate that the bulk of SADC is likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall for most of the period October to December (OND) 2019.