Proceeding of the international conference on Integrated Drought Management
With a gross population of 181 million in 1995 and an estimated 297 million in 2015(see Table l), the 14 SADC member states constitute about 30 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa(SSA)‘s population. At US$177 billion in 1995, SADC accounts for approximately 60 percent of SW’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
About 70 % of SADC’s population depend on rural agriculture while the sector’s contribution to Sub- Saharan Africa GDP ranges from 5 % to 58 % across SADC as demonstrated in Table 2. Agriculture remains the mainstay of economic activity in most countries and the main source of food, farm incomes, export earnings, employment and industrial raw materials as indicated in Table 2. Yet the SADC agricultural growth rate has been very erratic over the past 20 years, with an average annual rate of 1.5 percent between 1980 and 1995.
In addition, agriculture is marked by a predominance of rain-fed subsistence farming, leaving food security for about 70% of the population directly dependent on the fortunes of the climate. Even in the commercial farming sectors, agricultural production is heavily dependent on the nature and patterns of rains. Only a small fraction of the regional irrigation potential has been developed. This high dependency on rain-fed production systems increases the vulnerability of the region to periodic food and water shortages induced by droughts.
Source : ASDMA