'Matabeleland poorest region'

HARARE - Matabeleland is the poorest region in Zimbabwe as a consequence of perennial droughts that have haunted the region for the past decade, a local public opinion institute has revealed.

According to results of opinion polls released by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (Mpoi), 91 percent of people in Matabeleland North and 83 percent in Matabeleland South often or “always” go without food.

Compared to other regions such as Mashonaland West (55 percent), Manicaland (53 percent) and Harare (36 percent), Matabeleland needs quick government intervention to maintain food security.

“Zimbabweans indicated that they have ‘‘sometimes’’ or ‘‘always’’ gone without enough food (62 percent), enough energy/electricity (69 percent), modern medicine (70 percent) and cash income (91 percent),” Richman Kokera, a researcher with the institution said.

The survey also revealed that 100 percent of people polled in Matabeleland South and 98 percent in Matabeleland North sometimes or always go without cash income owing to company closures in the past decade.

Kokera told delegates at the workshop that rural areas are more subject to poverty and depravation than urban areas.

Matabeleland North is the most affected since it is more remote with no proper road networks for easy access to food aid, while places like Binga remain in danger of starvation.

Farming remains the major source of income for rural families, accounting for 32 percent as compared to 27 percent earned from monthly salaries.

But due to erratic rains, most families have become prone to serious poverty as their incomes are far below the Poverty Datum Line pegged at $540. - Nyasha Chingono

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