Import enough food now

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THIS week’s warning by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that about five million Zimbabweans were food insecure must receive due attention.

The IMF predictions have always been up to point as they are based on scientific evidence and not political bunter.

The fact that over five million people are at the threshold of hunger due to poor rainfall, exchange rate volatilities and high inflation should worry government.

This has happened before and the victims have always been the poor and marginalised members of society since the elite have the financial capacity to import food, sometimes using ill-gotten funds to feed their families.

When their families have enough food, they cease to care about the poor and even lie that the country has enough food stocks.

Only last season, government said Zimbabwe had surplus food stocks.

That came as sweet music in the ears of poor communities that have been neglected for many years, only to be shocked when the IMF said food stocks were already precarious.

There is something completely wrong in the way government handles food crises.

People must be told the truth so that they stock up on time.

The worrying thing is that general earnings have stagnated at a time prices of most commodities have shot into the roof, making the majority of average families vulnerable.

Most of the workers in formal employment earn their salaries in Zimbabwe dollars, which is depreciating heavily, and they have to buy United States dollars on the parallel market in order to buy food.

The situation in Zimbabwe is increasingly getting complex each passing day.

This is why the IMF’s report, which was released on Thursday at the conclusion of its 2022 Article IV Consultation must jolt authorities into action.

Mobilisation of funding for food imports must start immediately, and distribution of food aid ought not be politicised.