More than 80% of rural communities in the Midlands province require urgent food aid, as their crops have been written off due to extreme weather conditions, Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya has said.
Machaya told Southern Eye that the 3 000 tonnes of drought relief maize allocated to his province were inadequate and would only last two weeks as more than two million people required urgent food aid.
Already, some villagers in the worst affected districts such as Silobela, Gokwe, Mberengwa and Zvishavane, were surviving on wild fruits after exhausting their grain reserves.
Most of this season’s maize crop has been affected by drought and has failed like this crop in Chivhu. The condition of the crop paints a grim picture of the food situation in the country.[/Caption]
“The food crisis we are facing is serious and the situation, especially in the rural areas, is really bad. We are constantly in a fire fighting mode, but I can tell you the situation is just bad,” he said.
Zimbabwe is this year facing one of its worst food shortages due to an El Nino-induced drought, which has killed nearly 20 000 cattle nationwide.
“The problem has been compounded by the fact that even in Gokwe North, which once had food, they have also run out,” Machaya said.
“The cattle there cannot be sold and nobody has money to buy food for themselves, so we are faced with a serious situation.
“I want to call on councillors and government officials to distribute food fairly and shun corruption. Let us share the little food that is available so that we don’t have loss of life due to this food crisis.”
He said they had appealed to the Social Welfare ministry to double their food allocation, as the present rations were far too inadequate.