Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
FIRST Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa on Thursday handed over a consignment of traditional grain to chiefs’ spouses from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, encouraging them to promote the eating of byproducts of the grains which are a rich source of nutrition.
Amai Mnangagwa, who handed over the grain in Bulawayo, said chiefs and their wives were the custodians of tradition and culture and key in ensuring food security in the nation.
“I am glad to be here with all you fellow mothers from our respective areas of jurisdiction in the quest of establishing food security in our country. There is still a gap in the consumption and adoption of the traditional grains. This was our staple food before and we cannot call it small grains anymore but traditional grains,” she said.
She highlighted the reality of climate change saying there is a deliberate need to promote the growing of the traditional grains throughout the country.
“You are the custodians of our culture, because of climate change we are seeing ourselves in the promotion of traditional grains. The unexpected variations in change of climate is responsible for the successive droughts and disruptions in the expected rainfall patterns. We have experienced the challenges of climate change so we are looking at proposals of solutions to the problems,” she added.
Amai Mnangagwa said chiefs’ wives were responsible for promoting the growing of the grains in their various jurisdictions.
“This is now our work as mothers to start growing these traditional grains in our homesteads as chiefs’ wives. Historically traditional grains used to be the prime diet of our countrymen and we all know that this used to be the main crop in our nation. We can’t deny the fact that the traditional grains are an important staple food in the semi-arid regions in this country,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa said traditional grains such as sorghum and millet require little rainfall and hence play a pivotal role in mitigating the effects of drought.
The First Lady said through this initiative she wants to encourage a change in the eating habits so that there is a boost in the consumption of traditional grains in Zimbabwe.
After handing over the traditional grains to chiefs’ wives, the First Lady proceeded to Sizinda suburb in the city where she interacted with the elderly and handed over mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar and other food staffs.
She said the elderly can no longer fend for themselves and decided to donate, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, the consignment of food with the aid of Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South constituency Cde Raj Modi.
Amai Mnangagwa also handed over 100 push cart vending booths to beneficiaries of an empowerment programme where women and men will be selling drinks courtesy of Pepsi. The beneficiaries who are mostly women were encouraged to sell the drinks and grow more businesses from there.