Zimbabweans start receiving drought relief grain
Harare – The Zimbabwean government is set to start distributing relief grain to families hit by severe drought in all provinces of the country, a report said on Monday.
This comes as Zimbabwe continues to import grain from several countries in the region to try and avert food shortages in the country following poor harvests.
US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) reported in May that some homes in rural areas in the south of the country had produced "next to nothing", partly due to the late onset of rains followed by a prolonged dry period.
Media reports indicated that the southern African country needed at least 700 000 tons of maize to avert food shortages. The imports will cost the country's cash-strapped treasury around $224m (R3.1bn), according to analysts.
At least 16% of the country’s estimated 13 million population faced food insecurity.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, the Masvingo province was the worst affected and required at least 131 000 tons of grain.
"We have already started moving the grain to provinces and we are now going to districts and wards to assist people even in the most remote areas to avert hunger," the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Joseph Made was quoted as saying.
Food shortages were particularly acute in the years following the launch of President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme in 2000.
Mugabe recently assured the Zimbabweans living in drought-stricken areas that they won’t starve, saying relief food would be available to feed them.