Hunger grips Kezi

KEZI - Villagers in rural Kezi in Matobo District face severe hunger after a devastating crop failure caused by poor rains in the 2012-13 farming season.

Desperate villagers are likely to endure months of starvation until the next rainy season, unless government steps in with food handouts.

“There is no food,” peasant farmer and Fuyana Village headman, Lufu Ncube told the Daily News on Wednesday during a visit to Mabonyane in Kezi.

“I used to get reasonably good yields in the past seasons, but this year I did not get anything.
gent food aid because the non-governmental organisations that used to help us have since pulled out,” Ncube said.

Organisations like Christian Care and World Vision who used to supply food aid under the food for work programme were last seen five months ago, leaving the villagers stranded.

Lucas Moyo, a Mabonyane headman, said villagers are poised to run short of food stocks to take them to the next rainy season owing to the current harvests.

“People are hungry because of poor harvests this year. Government should come to our rescue,” Moyo said.

The Daily News observed dwindling water levels in the few dams in Kezi that cannot sustain villagers’ irrigation requirements. There has been reduced production in the irrigated agricultural schemes which normally supply fresh vegetables.

Matabeleland South falls under the drought-prone natural farming region five.

Farmers in Kezi have in the past suffered huge livestock losses, including their mainstay cattle due to depleting pastures and some have resorted to unsustainable and expensive commercial stock feeds.

Although commercial stock feeds has reduced livestock deaths in the area, it cannot be relied on to avert the problem because of the exorbitant costs involved. -
Nyasha Chingono

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