Taking stock of regional food security after ten years of SADCC
Mangwende, Witness P.M.
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All ten SADCC countries are heavily dependent on agriculture. This sector provides not only national and household food security but is the major source of employment for the people of the region. It generates foreign exchange in the net agricultural exporting countries and achieves large import savings in the other countries. It is this dominant role of agriculture in the economy of the region which led the Heads of SADCC states to agree to develop regional action programmes for seven agricultural sub-sectors. It is the action programme dealing with food security, which is the responsibility of Zimbabwe, that is the focus for this Conference. The primary objective of this programme was initially to increase food production in order to improve nutritional levels of rapidly expanding populations. Cereal production has been increasing but at a slower rate than population growth. This means that, in spite of an increase in cereal imports into the region, there has been a decline in the per capita availability of cereals within the region as a whole.