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Donors source food in region to cut costs

Staff Writer

THE donor community and its implementing partner, the World Food Programme, have resolved to source humanitarian food aid within the region to prevent a break in the food pi

peline and avert mass starvation in Zimbabwe.

In committing another US$8 million to its humanitarian aid contribution, the European Commission said it required its implementing partners to source their food requirements from within the region. The EC in August availed US$28 million for the procurement and distribution of grain in the country.

“With the additional US$8 million in place, it’s expected to cover 30% of the total estimated tonnage of maize required for the WFP pipeline for the period of September 2003 to June 2004,” the EC said in a statement.

“As well as assisting these markets, regional sourcing minimises logistical constraints and enables grain to be shipped and distributed without delays.”

The EC said because of this new arrangement, the donor community had averted disruption of the food pipeline from December to February if no other pledges were received.

“Today, the WFP is covered at approximately 45% but will require more pledges to sustain operations until June next year,” the EC said.

WFP spokesperson in Harare Makena Walker said the food security situation in Zimbabwe remained critical and that without the direct intervention of the international community, a significant proportion of the population was at serious risk.

“The recent contribution will procure 13 000 tonnes of maize meal yet we require around 60 000 tonnes in January alone,” Walker said.

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