Prepare for looming hunger

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction has challenged the government to find long term solutions to combat looming hunger in the country.

CSPR board chairperson John Lijimu said there was need to put practical measures of combating the looming hunger in the country in place to ensure food security.

Lijimu said the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock must provide the nation with practical long term measures that would be able to curb the hunger situation in the country.

He observed that the government’s programme through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) could not be able to cater for all the areas affected, adding that instant initiatives were short term programmes.

“What the government must do is to ensure they carry out a survey to ascertain affected areas so that adequate measures are taken to ensure food security,” he said.

Lijimu said that the looming hunger in some parts of the country especially with regard to maize which was the main staple food was a reality and the government could not afford to give it a blind eye.

He said that the Minister of Agriculture Bob Sichinga must work on quick initiatives in maize production that would assure food security in the country, adding that food distribution under the DMMU was not a solution to curb hunger.

Lijimu further said that failure by the government to implement the FISP timely and accurately due to poor planning and management had watered down all the efforts that were made in the past 5 years to seal food security in the country.

And according to CSPR 2013 survey, it showed that they will be a shortage of food supply in the country up to more than 40% of what is required to feed the nation.

“We are extremely concerned that if nothing very practical is done, Zambia risks not succeeding in attaining the Millennium Development Goal on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.” He said.

He said there was need for the government and all stakeholders involved providing practical steps and measures to mitigate the looming hunger.

Lijimu reiterated that people would not eat reports adding that there need to see government moving in and bring about tangible solutions to the challenges of hunger.

“The government can engage in fast track in maize production like embarking on vigorous irrigated winter maize that once was implemented by late President Levy Mwanawasa so that the issues can come to an end,” he said.

He appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to rise to the challenge and ensure that there was proper, timely, management and implementation of FISP which should spread to a broad section of the famers in the country, to guarantee food security in the coming harvest year.