230 000 Zimbabweans to receive USAID food assistance  

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By Staff Reporter

A total of 230 000 people from the most drought vulnerable districts in Zimbabwe are set to receive food assistance during the January to March 2024 lean season from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

USAID announced a contribution of US$11.27 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Zimbabwe towards this commitment on Wednesday.

In her remarks, the USAID Mission Director, Janean Davis said: “USAID is committed to continue to strengthen community resilience and accelerate sustainable development, which empowers Zimbabweans to better cope with the stressors such as the drought caused by the El Niño climate pattern.”

Targeted districts include Mwenezi, Mangwe, Chivi, and Buhera.

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report, 26 percent of the rural population will not have enough cereal for consumption and need over 100,000 MT of maize grain during the peak period.

In addition, the predicted El Niño weather phenomenon during the 2023 to 2024 rainfall season indicates below-normal rainfall and high temperatures, which could lead to low production and further increase food insecurity.

The funding from USAID will enable WFP to complement the Government-led Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy Programme, which will assist 2.7 million people in all districts across Zimbabwe to help mitigate household food stock depletion, minimise negative coping mechanisms preventing the most vulnerable people from falling deeper into food insecurity.

“Our goal is to ensure that everyone in the country has access to nutritious foods and can consume the recommended amounts.

“The assistance we are acknowledging today, which includes cereals, pulses and fortified vegetable oil, is an important contribution to help the most vulnerable people in rural areas to meet their nutritional needs.

I would like to thank USAID for their significant contribution, which undoubtedly saves lives,” said Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Zimbabwe Representative and Country Director.

WFP said it will continue to enhance its monitoring to best serve vulnerable families across the country.

Furthermore, WFP said it will actively engage communities to strengthen their resilience against the anticipated El Niño drought.

This involves creating valuable assets such as boreholes, reservoirs, and drip irrigation systems and providing drought-resistant seeds to smallholder farmers.

USAID’s latest contribution to WFP’s food and resilience activities in Zimbabwe brings the total funding from the United States to over US$24.3 million in 2023.