US$600k boost for Cyclone Idai hit smallholder farmers

BY SILAS NKALA

THE United States government says it will provide an additional $600 000 to assist about 1 700 smallholder farmers in Chimanimani district to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

According to the United States Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide funds to its local partner, LEAD Trust, to spearhead the recovery efforts over the next 12 months.

The embassy said the programme will help smallholder farmers grow high value crops and cereals to improve nutrition and hygiene.

“As part of these efforts, USAID will provide smallholder farmers with 138 000kg of locally procured seed and 305 000kg of fertiliser,” the embassy said in a statement.

US ambassador Brian Nichols stated in the embassy report that the United States continues to stand with the people of Zimbabwe.

“The funding towards recovery efforts from USAID will help communities in Chimanimani district rebuild their lives following the tragedy of Cyclone Idai. This contribution will help communities meet their short and long-term food security needs and assist them on their journey to self-reliance,” Nichols said.

The embassy said this additional contribution complements previous Cyclone Idai relief efforts through USAID’s Office of Food for Peace and Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and brings the total US government commitment to $3,2 million.

“USAID continues to support the immediate food needs of approximately 133 000 individuals in the most affected areas, providing 2 000 metric tonnes of sorghum, vegetable oil, and fortified cereals. In addition, USAID supported a two-month activity that provided water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter to 36 400 individuals in cyclone-affected areas of Manicaland province,” the embassy revealed.

“The US government is working in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe, other donor governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, local relief groups, and others to provide timely emergency relief and disaster recovery to those impacted by the cyclone.”

Farmers and villagers in Chimanimani are still struggling to recover from the effects of Cyclone Idai, amid interventions by various organisations.

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