BY PRECIOUS CHIDA/FARAI MATIASHE

Labour minister Sekai Nzenza says Zimbabweans must prioritise drought-resistant crops to counter the effects of climate change.

Speaking at the official opening of United Nations (UN) week panel discussion and exhibition in Harare on Monday, Nzenza said stakeholders, including government, non-governmental organisations and civic society groups should educate citizens on the benefits of growing drought-resistant crop varieties.

“There is need to develop a new strategy. We need to develop a coping strategy to mitigate climate change. Cyclone Idai was a wake-up call to my ministry to realise the devastating impact of climate change and also in addition to Cyclone Idai we have had drought,” Nzenza said.

“There is a lot of hunger and what the ministry is doing in the short term is to ensure that everybody gets food. In the long term, we have to develop resilient strategies. Let’s go back to what it used to be like before we became so dependent on things like maize which has become much commercialised, let us go back to our small grains like sorghum.”

Nzenza said there is need to educate people across all societies on the effects of climate change in their local languages.

“We are also looking at raising awareness especially in the rural areas where there is less access to information. We need to develop material in the language that people understand. Like what is climate change and what are its effects so that people understand its effects and that it is real and affecting our people,” she said.

Deputy director for climate change department, in the Lands ministry Kudzai Ndidzano said climate change mitigation requires collective action.

“Climate change is real; it’s a threat. It’s time for collective action, private sector, government, civil society groups should come in. We need to act; it’s going to get warmer (thus) developing of tropical storms,” he said.

International Organisation for Migration chief of mission, Mario Lito Malanca said to manage migration in the country, there was need to reduce climate change as its impact such as Cyclone Idai is responsible for the displacement of thousands of people.

UN resident co-ordinator Maria Ribeiro said the three-day exhibition is aimed at raising awareness on climate change action to achieve 2030 Agenda on sustainable development.