FOOD and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations’ recent report “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” says hunger in sub-Saharan Africa is on the increase and calls for building climate resilience for food security and nutrition.
The report says 237 million people will be affected in sub-Saharan Africa, which will strain global and continental hunger eradication efforts to meet the Malabo Goals 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report maintains that food insecurity has worsened in countries affected by conflict often aggravated by prolonged drought or floods, like in Southern and Eastern Africa, many countries suffered from prolonged drought. Compared to 2015, it says there are additional 34.5 million more undernourished people in Africa with 32.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 1.9 million in Northern Africa.
Although the government has been encouraging Tanzanians to work hard and produce enough food, such an effort as FAO puts it, is often stained by natural calamities such as prolonged drought and floods.
We say this because every year we witness destruction of houses, crops and roads, losses of lives and destruction of roads and property due to heavy rain in some parts of the country. This is without mentioning the effects of prolonged drought.
Since Tanzania is part of sub-Saharan Africa, FAO report is quite relevant to our own situation. The fact that, it often rains too early or too late or too little or too much, it is difficult for farmers to predict what to do so that they don’t fall victim to food insecurity. The risk of food insecurity and malnutrition, including stunting, is greater because the poor are more exposed to ever climate change effects.
FAO, therefore, calls for greater urgency in building resilience of households, communities and countries to climate variability and extremes. At local level, we think that it is good to remind one another on the importance of diversification as opposed to monoculture as food insecurity looms large in sub-Saharan Africa.
On the other hand, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has been advising farmers and Tanzanians in general to utilise weather forecasts so that people know what to do when it rains too early or too late or when it rains too little or too much and to know it well in advance is very important for future planning.
Although many Tanzanians do not have a culture of paying attention to weather forecasts, we think with ever increasing climate change effects it is important to take precautions when it comes to weather forecasts due to far reaching consequences of climate change. So, let us do something about it.