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Over 1,6 million receive food aid to avert hunger amid El Nino-induced drought

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By Tinei Tuhwe


THE Government of Zimbabwe says it has commenced the equitable distribution of much-needed food assistance to vulnerable households across the country.

Addressing the media, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, July Moyo said a three-month phased distribution plan has been put in place to combat the effects of the El Nino-induced drought, prioritising the worst-affected areas and hard-to-reach communities.

“As the country took measures to combat the effects of the El Nino induced drought, the government embarked on a three-month phased distribution plan prioritising the worst affected areas and the hard to reach,” he said.

He reported that, as of June 18, 2024, the ministry had distributed food across eight rural provinces.

“This phased approach commenced in May and for the May to July phase, as of 18 June 2024, 36 685mt had been distributed across the eight rural provinces to 1 630 448 people.”

Moyo emphasised the importance of inter-ministerial collaboration, stating that his ministry is working closely with Treasury, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (RIDA), and  Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to ensure a smooth implementation of the programme.

Regarding urban areas, Moyo noted that the 2024 ZimLac Urban Livelihood Assessment Report indicates that approximately 35% of the urban population, or 1,7 million people, will be food insecure; and the ministry will implement a cash-for-cereal programme to support these vulnerable groups once Treasury avails resources.

“For the urban population, following the results of the 2024 ZimLac Urban Livelihood Assessment Report, it was indicated that approximately, 35% of the urban population will be food insecure and this translate to approximately 1,7million people.

“A cash for cereal programme will be implemented to cover these vulnerable groups once Treasury has availed the resources,” he said.

The minister added government is working on implementation modalities to target.and register eligible beneficiaries and that both programmes will run until March 2025.

“In the meantime, my ministry is working on the implementation modalities on targeting and registering the eligible people to benefit under this programme.

“Both programmes will run until March 2025,” he said.

He appealed to development partners, civil society organisations, corporates, faith-based organisations, and well-wishers to collaborate with the government in this effort.

“We still call upon development partners, civil society organisations, corporates, faith-based organisations, among other well-wishers, to work jointly with us during this period.”