Article taken from;
Groups from Wales are working across southern Africa to help support partner organisations and communities in the face of severe food shortages.
Cardiff based Dolen Cymru, Bridgend based Friends of Monze and Abergavenny based Love Zimbabwe are among the Wales based organisation who are working to support partners in the affected areas.
According to UN sources 12.8 million people* in southern Africa have been impacted by the food security issue, with the lowest rainfall in 35 years reported in 8 countries* in the region. The number of people impacted could rise to nearly 36 million people* in late 2016.
Cat Jones Head of Partnership at Hub Cymru Africa said: “Vast areas of southern and eastern Africa have seen very little rainfall which means that the staple crops such as maize haven’t grown this season, leaving many without food to survive. The increase in the cost of food can make it up to 75% more expensive just to eat a basic meal and many people are going without.
Wales has been twinned with the mountain kingdom of Lesotho for thirty years. Sharon Flint, of Dolen Cymru- the Wales Lesotho link, who has recently returned from Lesotho, said:
“The most obvious difference to their landscape is the views of wild flowers grown in place of the maize crops. On one hand it is beautiful sight, but the reality for the local farmer and community is devastating.
“The maize that is visible is poor and unusable. The prices to buy processed maize to cook ‘Pap’, the Basotho local staple food, have tripled and the changes to water supplies have pushed up the cost of everyone’s utility bills.
“An estimated 1 in 3 people (650,000) will be in need of food aid until next year, so we are working with Send a Cow Lesotho to provide vegetable seeds to families urgently now. We are also working to empower local people by creating school programmes and community gardens to grow crops.”
Some families in the region have resorted to eating only one meal a day to conserve food supplies. School children are dropping out of school to help their families search for water, or to seek work to be able to buy food.
Martha Musonza-Holman of Love Zimbabwe, which has been working with Chinamhora Village in Zimbabwe for seven years, commented:
“We visited Chinamhora Village in February this year and found that people are struggling to find food. The drought is still hitting people severely and many people are eating yellow maize – a crop typically reserved for livestock. The current dry weather, parched rivers, and crop failures have severely affected subsistence farmers in rural communities. Villagers are relying on gathering wild fruits to survive as their crops have failed and food prices have risen.
“The community is working together and people are supporting their elderly and disabled neighbours. Our project is supporting the community by installing water tanks and helping people grow food in drought-resistant keyhole gardens. Some of the craftspeople in the village are also able to earn money through our Fair Trade craft project, and this means that they can afford to buy food.”
With droughts in this part of the world becoming more frequent and more severe as a result of increasing global temperatures and the next rains not due until October, the situation is likely to get worse.
Cat added: “In Wales we are renowned for our community spirit and showing support and solidarity. So please support your local groups who are working in these areas, donate to an appeal and take action to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.”
Dolen Cymru is appealing for donations to its appeal to provide fast growing vegetable seeds for communities in Lesotho to help families feed themselves over the coming months. The Cardiff based Waterloo Foundation has promised to match all donations received by the appeal up to £10,000. To donate visit: http://www.waleslesotholink.org/seeds