Dr. Brylyne Chitsunge, the Pan African Parliament Ambassador for Food Security in Africa said that the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a serious food security threat to this continent where some countries are surviving on food aid from donors across the world.
She highlighted that the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic which has drastically affected stock markets and international trade has also unfortunately brought along some logistical challenges with it which in turn affect the movement of food aid to countries that need it the most.
The Food Ambassador attributed the logistical challenges to some lockdowns and travel bans that are happening in some seriously affected countries like Italy whose facilities are critical for the movement of goods to other parts of the world, especially to Africa.
Dr. Chitsunge described the crisis as a multi-faceted tragedy that calls for informed cooperation among all stakeholders because of its far-reaching consequences in the various aspects of people’s day to day life especially when it comes to access to critical life-saving resources.
Concerning the on-going food crisis in some African countries, she said that there is a need to urge farmers to diversify their crops given the persistent drought conditions in some parts of the continent which are making productivity for crops such as maize to be very difficult.
She added that Africa has also been affected by pests and diseases affecting crops and animals, a development that can be attributed to changes in weather and poor grazing land management.
In order to reduce and avoid food shortages in the future, she called for the adoption of sustainable land management and agricultural systems which safeguard livelihoods and enhance crop resilience in response to the impact of climate change.
Dr. Chitsunge who is also a farmer herself is partnering with schools and universities to promote a farming culture and has also opened her Elpasso Farm in South Africa to decision-makers, journalists and students in order to give them an on-site educational farming experience.
The Ambassador who is also a Strategic Advisor to decision-makers in several governments warned that there is a potential risk of promoting clandestine channels for its trade if legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis are not well regulated. She, however, showed excitement on the awakening that is happening in SADC concerning the legalization of marijuana citing that so far, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho have all legalised cannabis, with Malawi having recently legalised the growing, selling and exporting of cannabis for research and medicinal purposes.