52 000t of food needed to 11/04

Roadwin Chirara

ZIMBABWE needs 52 000 tonnes of food assistance this year for the period July and November, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) has revealed.



NT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>In a report compiled by Zimvac and published by Fewsnet this week, an estimated 2,2 million people in the rural areas will be unable to meet their own food requirements without external assistance.


“About 2,2 million people in the rural areas will not be able to meet all their food needs on their own between July and November 2004, during which they would require food assistance of at least 52 000 tonnes,” said the report.


The report said the suspension of supplementary feeding by aid agencies because of government claims of sufficient food was likely to leave a majority of households vulnerable to hunger. It said lack of consensus on the actual harvest between government and independent assessors made contingency planning by aid organisations difficult.


“The lack of consensus of the cereal harvest and the inaccessibility of government cereal import figures for the current marketing year make food availability analysis and contingency planning for international agencies very difficult,” said the report.


Zimvac said out of Zimbabwe’s 57 districts, Buhera, Mutare, Bulilimamangwe and Beitbridge would have used up their cereal and grain by the end of July.


The report said the hungry rural populace had resorted to selling cattle for the purpose of buying grain. If such a situation was allowed to continue grain values would increase compared to livestock because of poor grazing, leading to a continued deterioration of the food situation.


Zimavc also said government shuld continue to engage the United Nations in dialogue for the purposes fo the continuation of food aid and recovery programmes. It said appropriate food assessment programmes were urgently required. It highlighted high rates of unemployment and inflation as major contributory factors to the food situation in the country.


The report said the erosion of the purchasing power of most households continued to limit food access to low income earners.


* Meanwhile the World Food Programme (WFP) has denied an agency story carried in the Zimbabwe Independent last week suggesting that the United Nations body had contacted the Zambian government regarding food assistance to Zimbabwe.


No such request had been made, the WFP said.