The World Food Program says it is seeking $65 million to ease food insecurity in Zimbabwe. The U.N. agency says its assessment shows that more than 5 million people in the southern African nation are looking at food shortages in coming months.
Belinda Popovska, the WFP Zimbabwe spokeswoman, told VOA on Monday that the U.N. agency had started looking for funds to import food for those in need.
“The latest 2021 rural Zimbabwe vulnerability assessment committee rural report indicates that 2.9 million people in rural areas – that’s 27% of rural households – continue to be food insecure during the peak lean season between January and March 2022. In urban areas up to 2.4 million people are expected to be food insecure according to the latest 2021 urban livelihoods assessment,” Popovska said.
The government says Zimbabwe experienced a bumper harvest this year, but the lack of food in rural areas indicates the harvest was in fact disappointing.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says Zimbabwe’s perennial food shortages will end with more production in the farms in the coming 2021/2022 season, which is expected to start anytime now.
She says the government will make sure farmers have the supplies and money they need to meet national requirements for both human consumption and industrial use.
“The strategy will result in more area being put to crop production as evidenced by the proposed increases of the following crops: maize, sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, soybeans and tobacco. The financing of the summer cropping and livestock will be through the private and public sector as well as development partners,” Mutsvangwa said.
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the region, has for years been facing food shortages, forcing it to rely on humanitarian organizations such as World Vision, USAID and the WFP to feed the people.
The government blames the problems on recurring droughts, but its critics point to a chaotic land reform program which started in 2000 and displaced experienced white farmers from their land.