$5m food boost for Zim

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

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.

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