Zimbabwe says up to 4 mln need food aid after drought

HARARE – The number of Zimbabweans requiring food aid has risen to 4 million, up from 3 million initially, a state-owned newspaper said on Tuesday, as the southern African nation grapples with its worst drought in more than two decades.


A villager uses a wheelbarrow to collect a monthly food ration provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, January 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
A villager uses a wheelbarrow to collect a monthly food ration provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

An El Nino induced-drought has hit Zimbabwe hard and last month it appealed for $1.6 billion in aid to help pay for grain and other food.

“Indications are that the figure of vulnerable households requiring food assistance could be as high as four million people,” Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira told the Herald newspaper.

Mupfumira was not immediately available for further comment.

She said government stocks of maize, the staple food, were 91,326 tonnes as of March 10 – enough to last three months. Mupfumira did not give details of stocks held by private millers and farmers.

The government has issued licences to private millers to import grain while organisations such as the United Nations’ World Food Programme are feeding 1 million people.

The drought and low mineral commodity prices are taking their toll on the economy, with finance minister Patrick Chinamasa saying last week it was “under siege”.

Farmers have already lost cattle and crops and fear more pain as the year progresses.

The El Nino weather pattern has also brought poor rains to other countries in the region, including South Africa, its biggest maize grower.

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  1. Ask Made. He waits for droughts to strike then he will tell of his plans to stock maize grain.

  2. despite that, to some extent its self induced droughts because its raining, it is the met department which is dead i once posted this on my fb profile

    I don’t get it how the meteorological department of Zimbabwe does it, I doubt if it’s still there at all. It’s misleading farmers of Zimbabwe year in year out. How can it be misinforming farmers that we are going to experience a long dry spell and there is a going to drought across the country. To my surprise it’s still raining and it’s likely going to be one of the longest raining seasons. I think this is to do with outdated technology which is failing to forecast precisely the rainfall patterns and accurately predict when actually the rains are going to fall. I just learnt that corn take 60-100 days to ripe and according to my calculation if a farmer planted on the first of January they should be expecting to harvest end of this month. What we are expiriencing right now according to my on understanding are shifts in rainfall patterns because we can’t say we are expiriencing droughts What worries me the most is that Zimbabwe is an agrobased country and inorder for it to prosper I think it requires a serious met department more than ever. I think for all farmers out there it’s better not be informed about rainfall patterns at all than to rely on misinformation. Mr Tich Zinyemba I need an answer.

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