US$3,9m boost to arrest food security crisis

EU commissioner Jutta Urpilainen

ZIMBABWE has received an allocation of €4 million (US$3,9m) from the European Union (EU) to mitigate the growing food security crisis, amid uncertain weather and macroeconomic conditions.

Poor rains in the 2021/22 agricultural season haver led to lower cereal production, especially maize and wheat crops.

EU’s monetary support to Zimbabwe is part of a €600 million (US$578m) finance facility from the European Development Fund to provide assistance towards food production, humanitarian food aid and food system resilience.

The fund is targeted at vulnerable countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP).

“The EU’s swift and comprehensive response to the current food insecurity in several vulnerable partner countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific area demonstrates our strong solidarity towards our partners, in particular in Africa,” the EU commissioner for international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said, in a statement.

“It helps shoulder the consequences felt worldwide of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. In the short-term we are helping families with food and nutrition assistance and helping countries to buy the food they need; as part of the Global Gateway strategy, we also work on solutions to address current and future risks by investing in local sustainable food systems to enhance resilience.”

According to the United States Agency for International Development food security arm, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, apart from the erratic rainfall, inflation has also hampered Zimbabwean farmers.

High input prices have limited the farmers from maintaining their usual crop levels.

The World Bank statistics indicate that Zimbabwe has the highest food inflation of 353%, followed by Lebanon, leading to high levels of food insecurity.

“Global food insecurity is our utmost concern. Data shows that tens of millions more people are facing food shortages compared to an already difficult last year,” EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarčič said.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine dramatically exacerbated the situation for the most vulnerable worldwide who already face the effects of armed conflicts, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Just now, famine is knocking on the door in Somalia. The newly allocated funds will help those in a dire situation meet their emergency food needs.”

He said the EU remained committed to supporting the most vulnerable.

“However, humanitarian aid cannot substitute efforts needed to increase resilience of most vulnerable populations. Sustainable development-oriented solutions to end hunger are crucial,” Lenarčič added.

The EU funding comes a week after the United Kingdom (UK) under its trade partnerships programme last week moved to equip horticultural farmers with digital tools to bolster their capacity to export.

The programme was also set up to allow farmers to develop export markets for their horticulture exports into the UK and EU.

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