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Mnangagwa engages regional peers over drought

by Staff reporter
05 Mar 2024 at 04:52hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is engaging his counterparts in Southern Africa, to explore collaborative ways aimed at tackling the effects of El Nino-induced drought.

Some of the migratory measures that the Government has adopted in the wake of the looming drought include embracing irrigation and new agriculture models.

The region is facing one of the worst droughts as a result of El Nino weather patterns stirred by climate change.

Neighbouring Zambian leader, President Hakainde Hichilema, has since declared the country's debilitating drought a state of disaster and emergency, saying the country is likely to face a devastating food crisis and electricity shortage.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD), predicted normal to below normal rainfall for the 2023-2024 farming season and the prolonged heat wave has seen farmers losing most of their crop, which has wilted.

Speaking to journalists after officiating at the 56th United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) Conference of Finance Ministers here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said he spoke to his Zambian counterpart yesterday morning over the drought issue.

He, however, could not divulge details of their discussion, which revolved around the impact of climate change and drought facing the region.

Both countries have resorted to cloud seeding to aid precipitation although this has been less effective because of rising temperatures.

"Currently, there is this eminent El Nino drought, which is affecting Southern Africa. I am in constant contact with my colleagues in Southern Africa and we believe that it is necessary to introduce models of agriculture that mitigate against such events as this drought," said President Mnangagwa.

"This morning, I was discussing with one or two regional Heads of State and felt that we need to promote irrigation in our region so that whether there is drought or no drought, at least we have under irrigation, enough hectarage to give food security to our respective countries.

"I was discussing with my dear brother HH (President Hakainde Hichilema) this morning and it's not prudent to divulge that two Heads of State will be discussing an issue until certain things have happened, then you would know that we have been discussing."

Climate change has brought most parts of Zimbabwe to the brink of famine due to shifts in weather patterns. Zimbabwe and other countries have over the years been experiencing increased frequency and magnitude of droughts, prolonged mid-season dry spells, heat waves, violent storms, and tropical cyclones

Temperatures in parts of Southern Africa are expected to rise by twice the global average as a result of climate change, and the United Nations is calling for urgent action.

At the ongoing Uneca conference that ends today, addressing the negative impact of climate change through green financing and investing in carbon markets has been one of the topical focus areas as the continent seeks to find common ground with regard to changing weather patterns.

President Mnangagwa said hosting the conference and being given the UNECA chairmanship was an honour for Zimbabwe, a country that has been commended for being a pacesetter in investing in climate-proofed agriculture, the regenerative agriculture model – Intwasa.

He said he does not doubt that Zimbabwe will do its best to carry out the task.

"Those who say Africa does not speak with one voice are not Africans. I am not aware of an African who is against Africa. The current crop of African leaders have to commit, we should stop looking outwards and do all our best to look inwards and try to resolve our challenges on the basis of collaboration in the continent," said President Mnangagwa.

In an official speech earlier, the President said the effects of climate change are increasingly constraining African countries from exploiting their rich natural resource endowments, in a sustainable manner, leading to diminishing returns along economic value chains.

He said heat waves, floods, tropical cyclones, and prolonged droughts are having devastating impacts on communities, economies, and livelihoods.

Source - The Chronicle
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