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Food insecurity & shortage of fertilizer in Zimbabwe - government is responsible
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
January 17, 2007

IT is the responsibility of government under domestic and international law to ensure that it takes steps as expeditiously as possible to ensure that people have access to food or to means for its procurement. This means that government has the primary responsibility to ensure that policies are formulated in a manner consistent with its responsibilities to protect food entitlements.

With reference to the right to food and other related rights, Art. 11 (2) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to which Zimbabwe is a State Party, states that the State shall take steps to, "improve measures of production, conservation and distribution of food . . . and by developing or reforming agrarian systems".

The government of Zimbabwe has continued to adopt policies that are far much divorced from its human rights obligations through the enactment of repressive laws and the setting up of inherently iniquitous institutions such as the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The GMB is headed by the military and is responsible for distributing farming inputs such as fertilizer and maize seed and distributing food. The GMB has in the past been embroiled in deep controversies of corruption and discrimination.

Placing the military and the police in charge of maize seed and fertilizer distribution confirms the claims by civil society that Zimbabwe has become a military state. The militarisation of food and farming inputs distribution programme is not accidental but rather a well-calculated move to put all critical State institutions under the tutelage of the military which is loyal to the ruling elite.

The shortage of fertilizer comes on the backdrop of the hype generated by government about the ill-conceived Fast Track Land Reform programme that has marked the collapse of productive farming in the country. A combination of manifold contradictions in policy-making and corruption has led to the current fertilizer shortages and disturbances in farming.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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