IT is quite heartening at this critical point in time that we have some very close friends out there who keep remembering us and have pledged to find us US$500 million in food aid to help some more than 5,5 million of our citizens avert starvation.
While the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations (UN) and their partners this past week committed to help avert hunger in the country following an El Niño-induced drought, the country should pay heed to wise counsel coming from our all-weather friends who have asked the once bread basket of the region to get its act together in terms of food security.
Speaking at the launch last week of the revised food aid appeal, WFP executive director David Beasley said: “Can Zimbabwe have a leadership which can take the country forward? We are ready to assist you.”
Some of us feel sad that 39 years after independence – and as we honour this week thousands of our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives so that the indigenous people regain control of their land, the country is failing each year to feed itself. It is embarrassing, in fact, that nearly 20 years after this very critical resource — land — was forcefully taken away from the minority white settlers, we have not been able to utilise it to feed ourselves.
Our gallant brothers and sisters, who shed their blood for this land, must be turning in their graves because we have indeed let them down big time, because this is definitely not what they hoped for; that we should be going about with begging bowls for food alms in a land of plenty.
It is quite disconcerting for some of us to keep accepting these food donations when some among us waste, not only the nation’s resources, but opportunities for the country to stand up and be counted among prosperous States. Zimbabwe is eagerly waiting for the US$500 million worth of food aid when it cannot account for a single cent of the US$3,2 billion that it poured into agriculture in 2017 and 2018. If this is not gut-wrenching, then we are doomed to forever be beggars.
The WFP, UN and their partners have been telling us countless times that because of increasing global crises in the wake of man-made and natural disasters such as climate change the donor community was progressively getting tired of assisting basket cases like Zimbabwe. But we have not even bothered to pay heed to this. Despite recurring droughts, the country has many water bodies that are lying idle on farms that have been hoarded by some of us.
There is no reason why Zimbabwe should be starving at all. It is high time our leaders seriously consider reviving the country’s agricultural sector because this is now more than embarrassing for us to keep moving about with a begging bowl for food.