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rains intensify food crisis in rural Zimbabwe
Sibanda, Mail and Guardian (SA)
January 11, 2013
About 1.6-million Zimbabweans,
most of them in rural areas, urgently need food aid because of low
rainfall and a drop in agricultural production.
Labour and Social Services
Minister Paurina Mpariwa said that the number of those in need is
expected to rise in the next few months if the country continues
to experience poor rains.
"These people require
urgent food aid to avert disaster," Mpariwa said.
The government's official
food reserve institution, the Grain Marketing Board, is working
to find ways to help the vulnerable, she said.
Other initiatives include
food-for-work schemes, in which people are given food in exchange
for working on government projects.
The Zimbabwe Vulnerability
Assessment Committee (ZimVac) said that, by the end of last year,
the reported number of people in need of assistance had increased
The World Food Programme
(WFP) and other aid partners are planning to intensify their operations.
"Food security prospects
for Zimbabwe for 2012-2013 are the worst in three years. During
the peak hunger period of January to March 2013, some 1.7-million
will be in a condition of food insecurity, a significant increase
from 1.3-million last year," said the WFP.
"This [figure] represents
some 19% of the rural population. The worst affected areas are Matabeleland
North and South and Masvingo."
The body attributed the
situation to lower agricultural production, with late rains, prolonged
dry spells and poor access to crop inputs leading to cereal production
dropping by a third.
It said government efforts
are having little effect owing to low coverage of its grain loan
It added that WFP assistance
to poor and vulnerable households between October 2012 and March
2013 is expected to ease cereal shortages in drought-hit areas,
but food prices are also expected to rise as the lean season approaches.
is forecast for the southern regions of Zimbabwe throughout the
coming season, which may aggravate conditions in regions hit by
last season's drought," said the WFP.
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