2,4 million in need of food aid

HARARE - Nearly 2,4 million people will need food aid by January 2019 with the worst affected provinces being Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.

Labour and Social Welfare minister Sekai Nzenza told legislators in the National Assembly on Wednesday that the number of people who need food aid across the country is likely to increase by 17 percent in January as compared to last year.

“Please note that according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), rural food insecurity in Zimbabwe for the 2018/19 consumption year is worse when compared to the previous year.

“In addition, kindly note that between October and December 2018, the food insecurity prevalence rate is expected to be 20 percent and during the peak hunger period between January and March 2019, 28 percent of the rural population (approximately 2.4 million people) will need food assistance.

“This has increased from 11 percent that was recorded last season. The worst affected provinces with the highest food insecurity levels are Matabeleland North (36 percent), Masvingo (34 percent) and Matabeleland South (30 percent).”

Nzenza said her ministry will soon distribute food to households basing on the results of the ZimVAC Report of 2018.

“May this House be informed that each household will get a 50kg bag of grain each month.

“My ministry also works with development partners which complement government efforts.”

The number of people who need food aid is set to rise due to an increased likelihood of the El Nino phenomenon during the 2018-2019 rainy season in southern Africa.

Famine Early Warning Systems‚ a think-tank on food insecurity operating in 34 countries‚ said in a report published last month that the situation would be aggravated by low or poor agrarian activity and a bad economy‚ largely due to man-made and natural causes.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said food security was a core priority of his government pledging that he will avail farm inputs and food aid to at least 2,2 million households.

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