Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT has mobilised adequate resources to cover at least 2,4 million people who are in need of food aid this year as it seeks to mitigate the effects of drought-induced hunger, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the 2,4 million figure of people requiring food aid represented a 28 percent rise compared to those that were in need during the same period last year.
Minister Nzenza said this in the National Assembly on Wednesday before repeating it on Thursday in Senate while responding to legislators during question and answer session.
Mashonaland Central Senator Alice Chimbudzi (Zanu-PF) asked what measures Government was putting in place to mitigate effects of drought.
Harare Metropolitan Proportionational Representative Ms Paurina Mpariwa (MDC Alliance) wanted to know the most affected areas.
In response, Minister Nzenza said the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) Report had been concluded and was due to be tabled before Parliament after it was brought before Cabinet on Tuesday this week.
“We have the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) Report. This report helps us to determine the needy households. Let me just give you the figures.
Kindly note that between October and December last year, the food insecurity prevalence rate rose to about 20 percent more than the previous year and during the peak hunger period, which is now, between January and March 2019 our percentage has reached 28 percent of the rural population. This is approximately 2.4 million people who are in need of food in this country right now,” said Minister Nzenza.
“The hardest hit districts during this period, I have 25 of them and I will just go through them quickly. The hardest hit areas are Mudzi; Buhera; Binga; Umguza; Gokwe; Rushinga; Bikita; Tsholotsho; Mangwe; UMP; Bulilima; Nkayi; Masvingo; Chiredzi; Mwenezi; Mutoko; Kariba; Lupane; Mutare; Nyanga; Zaka; Mvuma; Gutu; Beitbridge and Zvishavane. I have here the figures of the households desperately in need of food and through our Social Welfare Department at provincial level, we are targeting these households on a weekly basis.”
Minister Nzenza said following the conclusion of the Zimvac report together with their development partners in the donor community. The Government has just completed in partnership with our donor partners, they also met as the Food and Nutrition Council.
The council involved members from Treasury, Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and in particular, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.
“We met last week to study the lean assessment of the current drought situation and the availability of food in the country. What emerged is that the country has enough reserves to feed the whole country evenly in the season,” said Minister Nzenza.
Dzivarasekwa legislator Mr Edwin Mushoriwa (MDC Alliance) wanted to know if people in urban areas would also benefit from the drought relief.
“The Hon Member is quite right to say that there is no food distribution in the urban areas. However, we have numbers of needy households that have been targeted mostly in Bulawayo and Harare. I am afraid I do not have the figures with me right now but I can certainly present them to him. One of our strategies in the three months is to target specifically those households that are in need of food,” said Minister Nzenza.