Dec 7, 2016

Drought in southern Africa points to urgent need for climate change plans

South Africa
by
Kennedy Dzama and Tawanda Marandure
,
MG Africa
s a strategy to mitigate climate change, southern African farmers should make use of livestock species or breeds that are heat and drought tolerant, disease and parasite resistant. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy, M&G
s a strategy to mitigate climate change, southern African farmers should make use of livestock species or breeds that are heat and drought tolerant, disease and parasite resistant. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy, M&G

It is expected that temperatures in southern Africa will rise by between 1.5°C and 3°C due to climate change by the year 2050.

In turn, many economies in southern Africa which are dependent on agriculture will feel the impact The effects of climate change are already being felt. The 2015 agricultural season in southern African was considered the driest in 35 years.

Five countries in the region – Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe – declared national drought disasters. Eight of South Africa’s nine provinces and the southern and central areas of Mozambique declared partial drought emergencies.

Massive crop failures were experienced across the region. This led to a deficit of 9.3-million tons in cereal crop harvests. On top of this 643 000 cattle were estimated to have died in the drought. Because of these agricultural failures, food insecure populations increased by 31%. This implied that more than 40 million people needed humanitarian assistance.