$5m food boost for Zim
ZIMBABWE through the World Food Programme has benefited from a US$5 million contribution from the Department for International Development (DFID) UK which will be used to procure food for people in drought prone areas.
More than 120 000 people need food assistance in the country.
“The contribution will help WFP to provide cash-based food assistance to some 97 000 highly food insecure people in rural areas, and to another 19 000 in Harare. We are grateful for this timely commitment, which will allow us to provide immediate, much-needed assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Eddie Rowe, WFP’s Country Representative.
According to the 2018 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report more than 2,4 million Zimbabweans living in rural areas will face acute food insecurity at the peak of the lean season (January to March 2019). That number is likely to increase with the anticipated late start to the rainy season and the imminent prospect of another El Niño that is expected to bring higher than normal temperatures and a more prolonged dry spell.
The five rural districts to benefit from the UK assistance — Mutoko, Nyanga, Nkayi, Beitbridge and Umzingwane — are among the country’s most food insecure, and are yet to recover from the effects of a 2015/16 El Niño-induced drought that left more than four million Zimbabweans in need of food aid.
Head of DFID Zimbabwe and South Africa Ms Annabel Gerry said the UK will assist 97 000 people in the five rural districts with three to four monthly cash transfers between December and March.
“This builds on work already done by the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) in 18 districts. UK Aid will also boost our ongoing support to 43 500 of the ZRBF-assisted farmers to prepare for the current agricultural season, which is likely to be drier than usual,” she said.
In addition, DFID UK will also provide funding for four monthly cash transfers to 19 000 food insecure people in Epworth.
Epworth is characterised by high levels of food insecurity and unemployment, challenges compounded by the economic downturn.