With the TB+Aids epidemics now killing one-quarter of the working-age black adults throughout the sub-continent, food production has dropped dramatically while the needy orphan population has soared. Also, South Africa's few remaining commercial farmers no longer produce enough to feed the entire southern African region like they used to do, their unions warn...
The southern African kingdom of Lesotho has declared a state of emergency today -- appealing for international help to feed more than 400,000 desperately hungry people. And in Zambia, more than 1.2-million people also need urgent food-aid, even though the country has more than 150,000 subsistence farmers and is lush and green from recent rainfall.
Moreover, 8,000 Zimbabweans a day are now fleeing from that country's man made-famine into neighbouring South Africa -- making huge inroads into South Africa's own dwindling food supplies, local farmers are warning.Maize production has collapsed by more than 40% in Lesotho and Zambia this past season alone -- while in Zimbabwe, less than 10% of the normal annual grain crop was raised due to Mugabe's ethnic-cleansing campaign against his own people.
The World Food Programme warns that food-aid must be rushed urgently to all three countries. But why is all this happening so rapidly right now?
Killer TB+Aids: one-quarter of southern African population infected:
In all three countries - as indeed is happening throughout southern Africa -- more than one-quarter of the black working-age population is now infected with the combined deadly epidemics of Tuberculosis+Aids -- meaning that the number of people able to tend to their small subsistence-fields dwindle fast as the food-producers are dying, while the number of orphans needing emergency food-aid also rises dramatically.
The average life expectancy for black African adults throughout all the southern African countries including in South Africa has now dropped to below 32 years. This means that these working-age adults drop out of the labour market as they fall chronically ill and die -- and this is dramatically affecting all food-production throughout the region.
For the past six months, subsistence-farm families throughout southern Africa have known that things were getting very bad, with many appeals flooding in for emergency help at local religious charities all over the sub-continent. These latest assessments by local and international institutions at the United Nations' World Food Programme have now confirmed their worst fears.
The WFP claims that the cereal harvests in Lesotho and Zambia now are less than a quarter of what these countries need to feed themselves. Lesotho's prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili has declared a state of emergency only today.
Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, where the prices of the few available foods in shops have soared by more than 9,500% since January, the food-aid organisation CARE reports on January 19 2007 that Mugabe's police looted all their foreign food-aid supplies which were awaiting distribution to starving villagers.
Yet USA president George Bush is still sending emergency food-aid directly to Zimbabwe... when he should be sending these supplies to the South African borders, where refugee camps should also be set up to feed all those starving Zimbabweans fleeing into SA right now. Thus far however, the Red Cross Society has failed to show up to help house and feed these refugees - thus adding to SA's soaring crime epidemic.
All these southern-African countries used to import excess-food produced by its neighbour South Africa -- now the only remaining excess-food producer in the entire region.
However, South Africa 's own food-prices are dwindling too: mainly due to the Mbeki-regime's own ongoing ethnic-cleansing campaign to decimate his 'white' (Afrikaner-) agricultural sector and replace them with hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers (SA's black adult population shows the same high TB+Aids infection rates as the rest of the continent's)
South Africa 's dwindling number of professional farmers now produce less than 50% of their annual production of ten years ago.
Indeed its few remaining professional farmers now are no longer able to produce enough food to feed the country's own 47-million-strong population and the farmers' unions have been issuing warnings to this effect for the past two years.