THE United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has told us that: “In 2023, an estimated three million people, including two million children, are projected to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe due to the impact of food and nutrition crises induced by such natural hazards as drought, floods and disease outbreaks.”
While it is normal for any nation to experience food insecurity, Zimbabwe’s enduring hunger situation is, however, now a serious cause for concern because it has been haunting the country for too many years to be deemed normal.
Given Zimbabwe’s background of being an agro-based nation, it is quite perplexing that the southern African nation continues to perennially struggle to feed its citizens to the point of always carrying a begging bowl.
It is quite embarrassing, to say the least, for a country endowed with vast tracts of arable land and hundreds of dams full of water that yearly goes to waste through evaporation, neglect and even abuse.
We have heard of countless land audits done to establish how the country’s land is being utilised and nothing has materialised from them, and many continue to hoard vast tracts of land at the expense of the nation which continuously experiences hunger.
Late last year we were told that the Zimbabwe Land Commission was conducting yet another audit to establish the level of use of all the country’s land. The audit, which started on December 14, was expected to end on January 15 this year and we eagerly await its findings.
But the glaring truth of the matter is that much of the country’s agricultural land is idle and being wasted, and the number of people facing hunger each year attests to this. The Land Commission did not even need to conduct an audit; all it was supposed to do was to resolutely implement the recommendations of previous land audits.
In fact, if truth be told, the Land Commission is proving with each passing day that it is a toothless bulldog that is wasting taxpayers’ money pretending to be doing something meaningful.
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When three million people are deemed food insecure, this should jolt the powers-that-be into action because there is no excuse for Zimbabweans to experience hunger each year as if the gods have forsaken us.
We believe the country has not be serious enough about addressing its food security situation because if it was we should be feeding other nations which are not gifted with land and water. We are such a disgrace to ourselves and Africa for wasting precious resources. There are countries where it hardly rains and their land is largely desert, and here we are blessed with almost everything, but we are squandering the opportunity to feed ourselves and other nations through God-given natural resources.
The starting point is for government, since it is the custodian of all land in the country, to repossess all the land that is being hoarded by people who are not farmers and are holding the nation to ransom. It boggles the mind why government is treating the matter lightly when there are people out there who are selfishly holding on to a national resource, which is now making us a global basket case and laughing stock.