Minister of Natural Resources and Mining, Bright Msaka has called on member states within the African Union (AU) region to enhance regional trade as a way of addressing food deficiencies as a drought mitigation factor.
Msaka, made the call during the African Drought Conference, which was held last week in Namibia.
He said Malawi fully subscribes to the paradigm shift from Crisis Response to Drought Resilience.
“Through the proposed Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa (Drapa) Institution under the Strategic Framework for Drought Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa, our expectations are that there should be assistance to member states to implement drought mitigation measures such as large irrigation projects, introduction of drought resistant crops and facilitate regional trade in order to satisfy food deficient countries.
“There should also be a strong regional institution that will support African Union member states in dealing with issues of drought risk management,” he said.
Msaka further said a strong regional research work that will provide accurate information to assist with accurate weather monitoring for prediction and early warning is also necessary.
He said Malawi has a robust Disaster Risk Management Institution from which other countries may find lessons worth emulating.
“This conference therefore gives us hope that as we share experiences and best practices, and learn from experts, countries in Africa including Malawi will be able to deal with the problems that come about as a result of natural disasters such as frequent droughts.
“The need by the Malawi Government to secure food for the vulnerable population has necessitated the allocation of huge resources from the national budget and donor funds. This has adversely derailed our development agenda, because funds that would have been allocated to development and social services, have been sacrificed and diverted to the procurement of food,” said Msaka.
He further said Malawi hopes that water bodies and water sources are used to address today’s challenges.