Four million Zimbabweans face starvation – Minister

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By Thandiwe Garusa 

THE government has announced that about four million people from Zimbabwe’s rural population will be food insecure between January and March 2023.

This follows a decline in maize production  due to poor distribution of rainfall during the 2020/2021 farming season.

Addressing the media at a post cabinet briefing Tuesday, Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said the government has plans to feed these people.

“Cabinet considered and approved the proposed response plan for the 2022-2023 food deficit mitigation strategy, as presented by the minister of public service, labour and social welfare, Professor Paul Mavima.

“The nation is being advised that for the 2022/2023 consumption year, the projections of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) for rural livelihood assessment results (2022) indicated that approximately 38% of the country’s rural population consisting of 3.8 million people will be food insecure over the peak hunger period, that is, January to March 2023.

“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that all the 3.8 million people projected to be food insecure will be targeted as beneficiaries. Government will distribute food to all the needy households in provinces, ”she said.

Mutsvangwa also urged humanitarian organisations to channel food assistance to the needy.

“The World Food Programme and other development partners are expected to channel their food assistance through government structures, as per practice. The nation is assured that the country has 490 000 metric tonnes of grain in the Strategic Grain Reserve. Thus, the 120 000 metric tonnes required to support the needy households will be sufficiently covered.

“The targeting of beneficiaries and distribution of grain will be undertaken through District Drought Relief Committees,” she said.

Recently, Zimbabwe was ranked second bottom of the ten countries hit hardest by domestic food price inflation.