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Number of food insecure Zimbos grows

Local News
Speaking at the food aid signing ceremony with the UN in Harare, Local Government and Public Works minister Daniel Garwe said 35% of the urban population was food insecure

The number of people in need of food aid continues to rise with the government indicating that at least nine million people are food insecure and would require assistance until March 2025.

The revelations came as the United Nations (UN) has responded to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s appeal for US$3,3 million after declaring the El Niño-induced drought as state of national disaster.

The UN is mobilising US$429,3 million for humanitarian assistance during the period.

At least 13% of humanitarian aid is expected to cater for a school feeding programme, assistance for the labour-constrained households, food and cash for assets, and irrigation development.

The funding will also promote resilient agricultural infrastructure, promotion of livelihood projects such as community fishery schemes; village business units, school business units, youth business units and irrigation scheme business units, promotion of agricultural mechanisation for medium and large-scale farmers.

Speaking at the food aid signing ceremony with the UN in Harare yesterday, Local Government and Public Works minister Daniel Garwe said 35% of the urban population was food insecure.

“The 2024 Zimbabwe Livelihood Assessment Committee Rural Livelihoods Assessment is underway to estimate the food insecure population.

“The Urban Livelihood Assessment was completed, approved by Cabinet and disseminated with 35% of the urban population being food insecure,” he said.

“Preliminary indications are that an estimated nine million people will be food insecure and require food assistance until March 2025.

“This figure covers both the urban and rural population. It is critical therefore to support these vulnerable households along with those directly affected by the drought.”

UN resident co-ordinator Edward Kallon said the livestock sector risked being seriously affected, in the coming months between June and October, due to very poor pasture quality and lack of drinking water.

“Since December 2023, long dry spells, and high temperatures, coupled with poor rainfall performance, negatively impacted crop and livestock production,” he said.

“Estimates for the 2023/24 crop season indicate that about 700 000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize, out of an annual requirement of 2,2 million MT have been harvested. More than 1,4 million cattle risk facing deteriorating body conditions or starving due to lack of food, pasture and water.The impacts of El Niño have negatively affected local production, with estimates of a 52% shortfall,” he said.

According to the Crop, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment Report of the Lands, Agriculture Fisheries and Rural Development ministry, Zimbabwe’s crop production was negatively affected with 40% of maize crop classified as “poor”, and 60% as “a write-off”.

“As cattle herds converge in search of forage and water, livestock diseases have increased. To respond to this situation, this Flash Appeal requires US$429,3 million for humanitarian partners to assist close to 3,1 million people,” Kallon said.

The Flash Appeal is aimed at mobilising humanitarian aid to complement government’s own relief efforts.

“In issuing this appeal, we are conscious that humanitarian assistance is not a long-term solution to the recurrent climatic shocks that continue to increase in frequency and intensity in Zimbabwe and across the southern Africa region,” the UN resident co-ordinator said.

“With the global climate crisis impacting Zimbabwe, intensive efforts are required to ensure that people across the country can withstand the growing climatic shocks, as well as to tackle inequality and poverty, as highlighted in the country’s National Resilience Strategy,” he added.

Meanwhile, UN has called on other international humanitarian organisations to assist Zimbabwe and other countries which have been impacted by the El Niño-induced drought.

“We, therefore, call on the international community to show solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe at this extremely challenging time and to stand with us as we step-up our response to this devastating event,” Kallon said.

“We appeal for the international community’s continued generous support to ensure that communities severely impacted by El Niño can cope and recover from it and engage in transformative change.”

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