Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
ABOUT 5,5 million people in the country’s rural areas are food insecure with Matabeleland North among the worst affected provinces, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) latest report has revealed.
The report says Government should expedite providing food aid to vulnerable communities as most of them have run out of food.
The country received poor rains in the 2018/19 rainy season and the situation was exacerbated by Cyclone Idai.
“Rural food insecurity in June 2019 was estimated at 21 percent and is projected to reach 59 percent during the peak period (January to March 2020). This food insecurity prevalence translates to about 5,5 million rural people. The cereal requirements at its peak will be 818 323 tonnes estimated to cost US$217 659 752,” reads the report.
According to the report, food or cash should be distributed urgently to food insecure households to avert hunger.
An estimated 80 percent of the people in Binga district in Matabeleland North and Chivi district in Masvingo are in urgent need of food aid.
Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces which are the worst affected provinces have an estimated 63 percent of their population in need of food aid.
Matabeleland South province is among provinces with low percentage of people in need of food aid as only 49 percent of its population are in need of food aid. The Zimvac report said Government should consider increasing the two percent electronic transaction tax to support vulnerable communities.
“There is need to raise the two percent transaction tax in line with inflation to cushion the vulnerable,” reads the report.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said she could not immediately comment on the report’s findings as she was travelling.
President Mnangagwa has assured the nation that no one will die of hunger.
The Government has said it will be importing 700 000 tonnes of maize to cover last season’s deficit. — @nqotshili.