Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Hunger ravages Zimbabwe’s dry regions

Hunger ravages Zimbabwe’s dry regions

Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:13

Hunger is stalking most parts of the country, with people living in 
semi-arid areas already facing serious food shortages.
There are fears that starvation is imminent unless the government and other 
stakeholders quickly act to avoid disaster.
One of the worst affected areas is Chimanimani West in Manicaland where 
humanitarian organisations such as Christian Care are overwhelmed with 
demand for food due to poor harvests last season.

“My heart bleeds for children here. I fear they will soon develop 
kwashiorkor because most families here have run out of food,” said Zekias 
Nhachi, councillor for ward 20 in Chimanimani West.

Nhachi pleaded with government to establish more irrigation schemes in the 
area  which lies in natural region five, where crops hardly grow unless 
under irrigation.

“Irrigation will enable our people to achieve food self-sufficiency,” he 

Families in areas such as Gudyanga, Murare and Chikwizi travel long 
distances to buy food or secure work in Chimanimani East which experiences 
better seasons.

He said a bucket of maize was being sold for US$12 in his area compared to 
half the price elsewhere.

The dire food shortages in Chimanimani West are a reflection of the 
situation in other dry parts of the country which did not receive enough 
rains last year.

Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa said over 96 000 
households were facing serious food shortages in the province. He said the 
government has put in place a grain loan scheme to bail out the starving 

“Manicaland is generally dry and many communal areas did not receive good 
rains last year,” said Mbetsa. “As a result, there is a food deficit and the 
government is rolling out a grain loan scheme to save the starving 

In Manicaland, the worst affected areas include Marange, Chiadzwa, Buhera 
and lower Chipinge where some families are said to be surviving on wild 

Masvingo provincial administrator Felix Chikovo attributed the food 
situation in his province to poor rains last season. He said government was 
still to come up with intervention measures.

“All districts are faced with food shortages. This is due to last year’s 
poor rains as well as the late onset of the rains this year,” he said. 
“There are no interventions at the moment, but some NGOs are giving out food 
only to the vulnerable and worse off groups.”

The situation could be worse next year. This comes after reports that 
Masvingo’s maize hecterage dropped by more than 40% this farming season.
According to figures presented by Agritex during a drought relief meeting 
chaired by Chikovo last week, there are 122 250 hectares of maize planted 
this year compared to 229 887 in the 2011 farming season.

Matabeleland has not been spared from hunger due to poor rains. Sengezo 
Tshabangu, the MDC-T Matabeleland North chairperson said the 2011/12 season 
is another wakeup call for the government which must resuscitate irrigation 
schemes while creating new ones to avoid hunger in the event of rains 

Deputy Minister of public service and Insiza legislator, Andrew Langa said 
2012 is another bad year for Matabeleland South as most planted crops have 
already been “wiped out”.

It is estimated that 9 000 tonnes of maize would be required in the province 
to feed over 100 000 villagers every month.
“We expected good rains and the region had done its best in terms of farming 
preparations and planting.

Insufficent food for 11,5% of population

“However, this dry weather shows that we will not be able to harvest 
anything,” said Langa. He said the government should extend the grain loan 
schemes to the next farming season to avert starvation in the province.

Agricultural experts have called on government to revive irrigation schemes, 
most of which have collapsed due to neglect and vandalism by some of the 
newly resettled farmers.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network estimates that 11, 5% of the 
country’s population will have insufficient food entitlements between 
January and March this year.

It says the highest prevalence of food insecure households would be in rural 
areas and some poor urban areas.
The worst affected provinces were cited as Manicaland, Masvingo, parts of 
Midlands, Matabeleland South and North.


New Posts: