Food security remains key for any economy


The reality of a drought this farming season is beginning to dawn on most people as crops they grew with positive expectations fail under their watch.

After the heavy downpours some time ago during which places like Buffalo Range in Chiredzi had a record 203mm pounding the arid cane-farming area of Masvingo Province, most regions have gone for weeks without rains, compromising the potential yield farmers expected to harvest.

However, what is perhaps disturbing is the lethargy by government in mobilising food aid for communities that have real prospects of a drought. Already, there are places where crops have experienced severe moisture stress.

Authorities actually got early warnings from specialised organs like Famine Early Warning Systems (Fewsnet) on the prospects of an El Nino-induced drought ravaging Zimbabwe and the sub-region but conveniently chose to ignore completely.

It is difficult to guarantee the security of a hungry nation and there are several examples that have been witnessed all over the African continent and beyond.

Government should have started planning for anticipated food shortages well on time and obviously this would have allowed Treasury some bit of elasticity in the mobilisation of resources for that purpose.

Rural subsistence farmers could be the hardest hit given that they grow crops for domestic consumption and if the year is good enough may only spare a little surplus to sell in order to raise money for their children’s school fees. 

Some urban families have found farming helpful as 

they complement meager earnings with the food they grow on little plots on the outskirts of the their areas of residences.

These little plots have wilting maize crops, clear evidence of severe moisture stress, meaning they may not harvest anything substantial from these plots. 

Once this crop fails, it impacts negatively on the families concerned who have had to rely on such agricultural activities in these difficult economic times.

The bigger picture is that government then struggles in its obligation to ensure food security for its people, while at the same time being forced to redirect resources meant for developmental purposes for the sourcing of food.

Provinces like Matabeleland North had already written off some crops by mid-January, implying that authorities there, especially the provincial administration, were well aware of the situation on the ground and should have escalated the issue to central government.  

    Comments (2)

    There has been sufficient scientific professional warnings on water shortage due to climatic change to our beloved zanupf lead regime since 1980 to no avail due to outright lack of competency any attempts today will meet the same fate as earlier ones - no action.

    Sinyo - 12 March 2019

    How many farm managers were white before the year 2000 ?.

    Kuumra J - 12 March 2019

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