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Food security in Southern Africa: Causes and responses from across the region

18 March 2003, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria

A meeting hosted by the Southern African Regional Poverty Network in collaboration with CARE International and the French Institute of South Africa

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Southern Africa faces its most serious food security crisis since the severe drought of 1992. The World Food Programme has stated that 13 million people will need food aid assistance in 2002-3 with a regional food deficit of over 3 million tonnes of cereals.

The Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) has recognized the current food crisis facing the region as a vital area for intervention within their mandate to stimulate debate on key issues and promote effective communications. SARPN together with its partners in this endeavour, CARE International and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), have commissioned a series of country papers and a regional overview, which will be presented at a meeting on the 18th of March 2003. This event will discuss lessons emerging from the current food security crisis coupled with an overview of the latest vulnerability assessment figures from SADC FANRPAN.

Purpose of Meeting

The purpose of the meeting is to examine the underlying causes of the current food crisis in a number of Southern African countries and to outline initial policy responses aimed at addressing food insecurity in the region.

The papers will:
  • Identify long-term livelihood trends and coping strategies, using examples from the region.
  • Identify shocks and stresses, including HIV/AIDS, that have impacted on livelihood strategies and assess their contribution to food insecurity and poverty in the Southern Africa region.
  • Identify lessons learnt and initial responses for government, civil society, donors and regional institutions that move beyond the current food crisis.
The core objective of the meeting is to stimulate debate and to guide future analytical work as part of a regional action-research agenda. The ultimate objective is to contribute to the development of livelihood recovery strategies in the Southern African region, and to inform and influence key government and donor agendas that integrate long and short term responses to the food crisis.


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