FAMINE Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) has said Zimbabwe’s acute food situation will remain with production likely to be affected by the late start of the rainy season, flooding, and dry spells.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The warning was released at the end of January after the northern half of the country experienced flash floods that swept away crops and houses particularly in the low-lying Muzarabani and Mbire districts of Mashonaland Central Province.
“Heavy rainfall in the north resulted in localised flooding, damaging crops, and food stocks for some households and, according to United Nations estimates, about 500 of the 1 200 households impacted by the flooding are in urgent need of assistance,” Fewsnet said.
The situation was no better in the arid southern zone referred to as Beitbridge South Western Lowveld Communal Livelihood (BSWLC) which covers Matabeleland South Province (Beitbridge, Gwanda, Mangwe and Matobo districts) and Masvingo Province (Chiredzi district).
The organisation said social safety-net programmes were expected to continue in the BSWLC zone by targeting the most vulnerable households. This programming includes the Harmonised Social Cash Transfer Programme (HSCT) in Mangwe district.
“In this district the HSCT is targeting about 2 000 most vulnerable households between January and June. The government is also expected to distribute agriculture inputs to communal farmers in this livelihood zone,” it said.
The government safety-net programmes are also ongoing in 21 targeted districts, assisting the most vulnerable and labour, constrained households through the harmonised social cash transfer programme that provides monthly cash distribution of between $10 and $25.
Fewsnet added: “The World Food Programme is also implementing the disaster response and risk reduction targeting seasonally food-insecure vulnerable households in addition to the United States Agency for International Development- funded Development Food Assistance programme being implemented through the Amalima to ensure projects continue operating in Masvingo, Manicaland, and Matabeland South provinces”
Zimbabwe has for years been supplementing its maize deficits annually through imports particularly from South Africa and Zambia. The country needs 1,4 million tonnes of maize annually for domestic and animal consumption.