Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim provinces face hunger

Zim provinces face hunger

by Tobias Manyuchi     Wednesday 04 May 2011

HARARE – Four of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces face food shortages this year with 
poor households in the affected areas expected to harvest food enough to 
last only about two months, according to the Famine Early Warning System and 
Network (FEWSNET).

The US-funded early warning system on Tuesday said a prolonged dry spell 
from February to March destroyed crops in Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland 
South and Midlands provinces, adding food shortages in the hunger-prone 
provinces was expected to set in earlier than normal.

“The lean season is likely to set in earlier than usual in these areas in 
the 2011/12 consumption year as the dry spell significantly reduced the 
potential contribution of own household production to household consumption 
and income,” the FEWSNET said in a report.

“The poor households in the affected areas are currently dependent upon food 
aid, most of which stopped in March leaving these households to depend on 
their meager harvests that are likely to last for up to two months,” it 

However the report said staple cereals and other basic food stuffs continue 
to be generally available in other parts of the country outside the four 
drought-hit provinces, adding that food availability in such areas would 
receive a boost from this season’s crop currently being harvested.

But the report also said that despite general stable food supplies and a 
relatively stable macroeconomic environment, poverty levels remain 
relatively high in Zimbabwe, with low incomes amid high levels of both 
unemployment and underemployment that continue to constrain the ability of 
poor households to access adequate food.

The southern African country, which was once a breadbasket of the region, 
has since 2001 experienced acute food shortages chiefly blamed on President 
Robert Mugabe’s chaotic and often violent drive to seize land from 
experienced white farmers for redistribution to blacks.

The farm seizures saw farm production tumbling by more than 60 percent after 
Mugabe failed to provide funding, inputs and skills training to black 
villagers resettled on former white farms to maintain production.

But agriculture has shown signs of recovery with maize production rising to 
1.5 million tonnes in the 2009/10 season up from about 1.2 million tones in 
the 2008/09 season.

However the FEWSNET estimates maize production this year to remain stagnant 
at 1.5 million tonnes, which is 500 000 tonnes short of the about two 
million tonnes Zimbabwe requires for consumption per year. — ZimOnline


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