"The recently held Integrated Committee of Ministers Meeting in Manzini, Swaziland, urged member states to remove restrictions - in fact, we have urged countries with surplus maize to sell their produce within the region," said Margaret Nyirenda, head of the SADC,s Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate.
"The plans are now at an advanced stage and have received support because of the current global food crisis," said Nyirenda
Various models of the proposed facility are being negotiated; the strongest contender is based on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) Emergency Rice Reserve, established in the late 1970s.
In the Southern African
model a 500,000 metric tonne facility, including a cash component for countries that do not have any surplus to contribute, would be set up.About 75 percent of the reserve will comprise food in kind, while the remaining 25 percent will be in the form of cash.
"The reserve, which will include a combination of cereals, will be kept in several selected countries to provide easy access around the region," said Nyirenda
"We support such bilateral initiatives to boost food security, but we are concerned in instances where land is being leased or purchased for biofuel production at the expense of food production," said Nyirenda