Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

WFP says 1,1m in need of food aid

The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that 1,1 million Zimbabweans could need food aid before the next harvest in 2019, with rural smallholders most at risk of food shortages.

ICRC distributes maize to farmers in Zimbabwe's Fuchira region affected by drought
ICRC distributes maize to farmers in Zimbabwe’s Fuchira region affected by drought (2016)

Growing food prices and the country’s dire economic state could also affect those living in urban areas, the United Nations food agency added.

“WFP plans to address the most urgent food security needs of 1 135 500 people during the peak of the 2018-19 lean season,” said the agency’s Zimbabwe spokesperson Ashley Baxstrom in a statement.

“Vulnerable groups are always disproportionately affected by adverse conditions (and) shocks.”

The WFP said that $71,2 million would be needed for the planned response, with $22 million already raised — largely from the United States Agency for International Development.

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The WFP’s warning follows a report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network which said poor families in arid areas of Zimbabwe are running out of food.

“These food security outcomes are expected to persist through March 2019,” said the network on its website.

Livestock conditions were also deteriorating across the country due to water shortages and poor pasture, it added.

Zimbabwe is battling an economic crisis that includes cash shortages, high unemployment and lack of investment which has caused the cost of imported food to soar.

Newly-inaugurated President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to fix the country’s economy after he was sworn in last week following elections, the results of which were disputed by the main opposition party.