Met office equipment 30 years old, says minister

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ZIMBABWE’S efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change are being hampered by the obsolete equipment is still being used by the meteorological services department, a cabinet minister has said.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said some of the was now 30 years old.

The problem was making it difficult to provide accurate and credible data to enable the government and farmers to effectively plan for agricultural seasons.

Muchinguri-Kashiri was addressing guests at the launch of the National Human Development Report by the UNDP in Harare on Friday.

“The interrogation that I did just a few months ago; and this was a shock of my life to discover that the department which is very critical to Zimbabwe, which is the Met Office, is still using equipment which is 30 years old; and this is a reality,” she said.

“They do not have the computers and the relevant technology which is required to interpret certain data and, for all along, I have been presenting information to cabinet and you can imagine what has been happening in the three years.”

The met department needs to be well-equipped if the country is to effectively mitigate the effects of climate change.

“My friends UNDP and the Swedish government; we have a crisis,” said the minister.

“If I am expected to be effective and if Zimbabwe is going to be prepared to deal with climate change challenges, we need to build the capacity of the Met Department to bring (it) up to the levels now that will address the challenges that we are talking about.”

Despite the challenges faced by the Met Department, the minister said government had made significant strides in putting in place climate change resilience strategies.

Zimbabwe has since ratified several international climate related agreements, among them the Paris Agreement, the RAMSA Convention on wetlands and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“My ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has produced a smart climate agriculture manual for professional level education in Zimbabwe,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

“The manual will be adopted in the training curriculum for Agricultural Extension Officers to ensure thy integrate climate change in the discharge of their duties.”

She added that government, despite limited financial resources, was investing in renewable energies such as hydro-power, solar, wind, biogas and other related environmentally sound projects which facilitate emissions reduction in the country.