Drought Action Committee set to combat the impacts of El Nino in Zimbabwe

Drought Action Committee set to combat the impacts of El Nino in Zimbabwe

Drought Action Committee set to combat the impacts of El Nino in Zimbabwe

Drought Action Committee set to combat the impacts of El Nino in Zimbabwe

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture Water, Fisheries and Rural Development (MLAFWRD) have set up the El Nino Drought Action Committee (DAC) to develop drought mitigation strategies to combat the impacts of El Nino induced drought.

The DAC was set up this week through a multi-stakeholder meeting attended by more than 60 key stakeholders representing all provinces and sectors in Zimbabwe. The DAC will be responsible for coordinating all drought response interventions to save lives in the immediate-term and build climate-resilient livelihoods and agrifood systems in the longer-term. Chaired by the Permanent Secretary of MLAFWRD, Professor Obert Jiri, the Ministry and FAO are the secretariat to the taskforce, and they will play a key role in coordinating all the agriculture related drought response actions through its networks in Government, private sector, and development partners.

“We gathered as key stakeholders in the Agriculture sector to coordinate our efforts and create synergies as we address the ongoing El Nino induced drought that is ravaging our country. Together, we have the power to overcome the challenges posed by drought and build a more resilient and sustainable future for all. The formation of the Drought Action Committee marks a crucial step forward in our collective journey towards a drought-resilient nation,” asserted Clemence Bwenje, Chief Director, Business Development, Markets and Trade in the MLAFWRD.

The committee’s primary interventions are to develop short-term and long-term mitigation measures in the agriculture sector in particular areas on crops, water, livestock, fisheries, agriculture, and irrigation. Working in close collaboration with FAO and key stakeholders, the MLAWFRD through the Food Security and Livelihoods cluster, the sectoral response strategy is aligned to the Drought Risk Management Strategy 2017-2025 and the El Nino Response Plan (April 2024). The DAC’s strategy will protect lives and livelihoods allowing affected households to absorb and recover from the immediate impact of the El Nino induced drought.

“The El Nino weather phenomenon, coupled with widespread drought, is posing an increasing risk to food security in Southern Africa including Zimbabwe. Setting up of this committee is in line with FAO’s Anticipatory Action and Response Plan, which is anchored on mitigating the expected impacts of El Nino-induced climate extremes on agriculture and food security. FAO is committed to supporting the Drought Action Committee to achieve its objectives and action plan,” said Louis Muhigirwa, Deputy FAO Representative to Zimbabwe speaking on behalf of Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa.

During the meeting, the MLAFWRD presented the proposed Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the DAC including the expected deliverables and timelines in alignment to the Drought Response Plan. Stakeholders had the opportunity to deliberate on the proposed ToRs with the objective to formulate co-owned realistic and measurable interventions that clearly spell out roles and responsibilities of the DAC.

The meeting outlined the sectors that need specific response strategies and the required resources as well as the proposed resource mobilization strategy. The meeting agreed on sub-committees that will spearhead implementation of the El Nino mitigation strategy namely: Wheat, Crops, Livestock and fisheries, Horticulture, Irrigation, Grain mobilisation, strategic grain reserve, Water and WASH, Mechanisation, Data and Knowledge management.

FAO in liaison with the Ministry of Agriculture will lead the process through a consultant to engage key agriculture stakeholders, from the public sector and private sector to assist in the preparation of a comprehensive agriculture based costed resilience implementation plan which will focus on the short-, medium- and long-term interventions. This is expected to develop recommendations of key institutional arrangements and responsibilities for the successful implementation of the resilience plan and sustainability of the responses.

Going forward, each sub-committee will develop an action plan and implementation matrix with timelines and key deliverables. Progress of implementation will be continuously reviewed and reported to the main committee. The MLAFWRD is open to partnerships and a whole stakeholder approach to mitigate the impacts of the El Nino induced drought.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).