Zimbabweans face food shortage
Posted Thursday, October 10 2013 at 01:00
Importing food. Agriculture minister says they are importing maize from Zambia to alleviate the food shortages.
At least 2.2 million Zimbabweans will need food aid between January and March next year, a recent study by the government and donors has revealed. According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC), the study conducted in May and June showed that 1.5 million people were food insecure.
Four provinces – Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland – face dire food shortages. Agriculture minister Joseph Made yesterday said the country was importing maize from Zambia to alleviate the food shortages. “We have since written to the Finance Ministry for more funds to enable the movement of grain from Zambia,” Mr Made told state media.
Zimbabwe, once regarded the bread basket of Africa, started experiencing serious food deficits over a decade ago after President Robert Mugabe’s government embarked on a violent land reform programme.
Some of the displaced 4,000 white commercial farmers were given land in neighbouring Zambia where they have now boosted the country’s maize production significantly. The ZIMVAC report says the number of rural households that are insecure this year has gone up by six per cent from 2012.
Food insecure households need at least 177,000 tonnes of maize, the report says. Besides poor preparations ahead of last year’s cropping season, the affected provinces were hit by a severe drought that resulted in massive crop failure.
President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party denies accusations that the land reform programme, meant to give land back to landless blacks, destroyed agriculture, blames the poor harvest on former Finance minister Tendai Biti. Mr Biti, a senior official in former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party was accused of starving farmers of funding.