2019 SADC Summit must prioritize to address food crisis: only Zambia and South Africa have ‘some’ food

By Chris Zumani Zimba

images of sadc food.jpgWhy must SADC individual citizens and institutional stakeholders demand that the 2019 SADC Summit or their presidents prioritize to address the sub regional food crisis as they meet in Tanzania this month? -According to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)  2019 Synthesis  Report  on  the State  of  Food  and  Nutrition  Security  and  Vulnerability  in Southern Africa on 10th July 2019, 41.2 million people in 13 SADC countries are estimated to be food insecure in the 2019/20 year1.

“If you look into the food balance sheets produced by each of the member states, the balance in South Africa and Zambia is too small to supply all the countries that are in deficit,” said Mr. Domingos Gove, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat’s director of food, agriculture and natural resources on 12th August, 20192. Thus, during the last crop season, it was only South Africa and Zambia in the 16-nation bloc that had enough food. The rest registered food deficits, largely due to poor rains and cyclones that hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar and Comoro3.

However, a SADC report last month further forecast that 2.3 million Zambians will be food insecure by March 2020, after large parts of the southern and western areas of the country received the lowest rainfall since at least 19812. This will worsen the state of starvation and hunger in the SADC region given that Zambia is one of the lead food suppliers to most of its neighbors.

The SADC Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme Report of 2019  reveals that, during  the  2018/2019  rainfall  season,droughtaffected  central,  southernand  western  parts  of  the region. Large parts of southern Angola, northern and southern Botswana, northern Namibia, north-western  South  Africa,  southern  and  western  Zambia,  and  north-western  Zimbabwe  received  their lowest seasonal rainfall totals since at least 1981. Rains were delayed and erratic, resulting in reduced area  planted,  poor  germination  and  wilting. The  low  rainfallresulted  in  reduced  crop  harvestsandwater levels;and poor pasture conditions.Because of general drought conditions experienced in most parts  of  the  region,  Botswana,  Lesotho,and  Namibia  declared  State  of  Drought  Disaster  and  are implementing response plans1.

The 39th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and preceding meetings will take place in Dar es Salaam, in the United Republic of Tanzania from the 5th to the 18th of August, 2019. The SADC Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC. The SADC Summit is made up of all SADC Heads of States or Government and is managed on a Troika system that comprises the current SADC Chairperson, the incoming Chairperson and the immediate previous Chairperson. The ordinary SADC summit usually meets once a year around August or September in a Member State of the incoming SADC Chairperson4.

Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Zambian Political Scientist, Policy Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher, Consultant, Public Health and Tobacco Control Advocate. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles. Chriszumanizimba.cz@gmail.com or chriszumanizimba@yahoo.com; +260 973 153 815 for calls or WhatsApp. This article is made possible by Centre for Multiple Democracies, Good Governance and Peace (MDGGP) under Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU). But the views are attributed to the author and not CDU. 


  1. SADC-Media Release, (2019:1), “Food insecurity continues torise in Southern Africa-41million at risk”, accessed from https://www.sadc.int/files/9515/6284/7123/SADC_Media_Release.pdf
  2. All Africa (2019:1), “Southern Africa: SADC Summit 2019 – Do More to Address Food Crisis, States Told”, accessed from  https://allafrica.com/stories/201908120299.html
  3. The Citizen (2019:1), “SADC SUMMIT 2019: Do more to address food crisis, states told”, accessed from https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/1840340-5232242-9a1hay/index.html
  4. SADC (2019:1), “39th SADC Summit”, accessed from https://www.sadc.int/news-events/news/39th-sadc-ordinary-summit-heads-state-and-government-be-held-dar-es-salaam-united-republic-tanzania/

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