Britain gives Zim £15m food aid

HARARE - Britain will provide up to £35 million to help over two million of the world’s poorest people survive a looming food crisis that is set to grip southern Africa, International Development minister Lynne Featherstone announced in Malawi.

Rising food prices have combined with unpredictable weather to leave food stocks dangerously low across the region.

Malawi, which was a net exporter of maize just a few years ago, has now seen stocks depleted to a quarter of its annual average after the worst harvest in seven years.

Meanwhile, maize prices have more than doubled over the past year.

In Zimbabwe early indications show that the harvest will be significantly worse than last year, when one in five people in rural areas — 1,6 million people — did not have enough to eat before British intervention.

Featherstone said: “Countries across southern Africa are facing disaster as a looming food crisis threatens to leave millions hungry.

“British support will save countless lives in two of the worst-affected countries in the region, ensuring the most vulnerable people in Malawi and Zimbabwe are not forgotten as the crisis worsens.”

Britain will also provide £15 million to Zimbabwe, including £7,5 million for the WFP to provide food and nutrition to over 600 000 people; and £7,5 million for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to buy and distribute cattle feed, protecting livestock and livelihoods of 343 000 people.

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