Mnangagwa claims Zimbabwe food secure; promises to export wheat next year as 4 million people face hunger

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By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has claimed Zimbabwe is food secure and that by next year will be exporting wheat to other countries.

Mnangagwa claims come at a time his government has extended a begging bowl to humanitarian organisations claiming that four million Zimbabweans from rural areas will be food insecure between January and March 2023 due to poor distribution of rainfall during the 2020/2021 farming season.

The World Food Programme (WFP) also reported that Zimbabwe is among the world’s hungriest countries.

However speaking during the  Dakar II  Feed African summit in Senegal, Mnangagwa told other heads of states that through village philosophy which entails the country is developed by its people (nyika inovakwa nevene vayo) government has managed to put irrigations across the country for grain required for the whole country.

“In Zimbabwe we had the problem of food insecurity and we said, how much food do we want in a year to feed our nation and the figure we got was two million tonnes of grain.

“So we said, because there is climate change, how many hectares of land can we put under irrigation to produce two million-plus tonnes to feed the nation and we determined how much yield does a hectare have hence we knew the figures and we did that and we are now food secure.

“Secondly we had been importing our wheat from Ukraine and fertiliser from Russia, now that side is problematic.

“We thus decided to say we need about 240 000 tonnes of wheat, so how many hectares do we need under irrigation to grow wheat and we calculated and put that number under wheat and we are now wheat sufficient and we believe next season we will be able to export wheat,” said the President.

Meanwhile over 3,7 million Zimbabweans have registered for the government’s social food assistance programme.

This is a sharp 54% increase from December last year when only 2,4 million people queued for food handouts under the programme that offers beneficiaries 10 kilograms of grain and cash ranging from US$12 per person to US$60 per household per month.

Government is directly providing for 3,2 million people, while the rest are catered for by development partners such as the WFP.

The factors driving food insecurity in Zimbabwe are multifaceted.

A deteriorating economic situation, compounded by a combination of climate change shocks, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine are worsening long-existing vulnerabilities.