Namibia Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau says even though food security is mainly measured from a cereal and other staple foods point of view, total fisheries and aquaculture production accounts for about 8.4 percent of total cereal production in Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Speaking on Friday during the meeting of Sadc ministers responsible for agriculture, food security, fisheries, and aquaculture, he said this was significant, bearing in mind that fish has high-quality nutrients.
Equally, Esau explained that Sadc is well endowed with blue economy resources in the ocean, rivers and lakes, which include fisheries and other aquatic living resources, marine and aquatic transport, marine and aquatic minerals, ocean, rivers and lake tourism, as well as energy associated with these water bodies.
According to him, the Sadc region must, just like the rest of the world is doing currently, seek to develop sustainable blue economy opportunities as one of the means to address the food security of people.
“As Sadc, we are stronger together, and I am confident that we will stand together as we jointly address these challenges. Namibia is keen to play our party n helping out on this matter,” he noted.
The minister indicated that the joint meeting is timely and opportune, especially coming after two major natural calamities.
These are the impact of cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which devastated north central and southern Mozambique, south of Malawi, and eastern Zimbabwe in March and April this year, causing deaths and loss of cultivated lands.
He shared his recent experiences as part of a high-level government delegation that delivered 20 000 metric tonnes of fish valued at N$36 million to the government of Mozambique in response to the humanitarians needs to be caused by the impact of cyclone Idai.
According to statistics, the cyclones that struck the region killed over 1 000 people, injured an estimated 3000 people, destroyed houses and production infrastructure, and also damaged an estimated 800 000 hectares of agriculture land.
Additionally, Esau said the devastating effect of drought currently affecting most parts of Sadc, which in some countries is the worse since 1981, and which has caused Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to declare a state of drought disaster, and commenced mobilisation of response plans.
Drought is being experienced in many member states, including Namibia, which has resulted in crop failures, water shortages, and poor grazing.
President Hage Geingob did not only declare drought but also declared a state of emergency.
Source: New Era