PRIME Minister-designate and MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai is next week expected to embark on a countrywide tour to assess the distribution of food aid by the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
According to the United Nations, over 5,1 million people â€” approximately 45% of the population â€” would have no access to food by year-end.
Sources in the MDC said Tsvangirai wanted to get an appreciation of how the food crisis is, especially in rural areas.
“Tsvangirai will embark on the tour to assess the extent of the food shortages in the country and to monitor the distribution of food aid,” one of the sources said.
“The tour has been in the pipeline for sometime now. The president (of the party) thinks this is the appropriate time to embark on it given that he will be appointed prime minister soon and would be mandated to seek food aid for the suffering Zimbabweans.”
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson, declined to confirm or deny Tsvangiraiâ€™s intended tour.
However, United States ambassador James McGee told an international radio on Wednesday that Tsvangirai had informed him he would from next week conduct a food insecurity assessment field trips.
McGee said: “He himself (Tsvangirai) will be out in the field next week seeing to the food insecurity problems here in Zimbabwe.”
The ambassador said the US had instructed NGOs it supports to “get out there in the field and do their job”.
According to a recent Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Food Programme (WFP) joint crop and food supply assessment, the number of food insecure persons in rural and urban areas would be 2,04 million by the end of this month.
The two organisations said the number would rise to 3,8 million between October and December 2008 and peak at 5,1 million between January and March 2009.
Meanwhile, members of the Action by Churches Together International (ACT) in the country on Tuesday said they were going to intensify their food aid programmes after government lifted the ban on NGOs.
The ACT is made up of Christian Care and the Lutheran Development Services.
The members said they had suspended their fieldwork because of the ban resulting in them failing to distribute food to two million Zimbabweans.
Plans to deliver seeds and livestock for the next agricultural season were also put on hold. â€” Staff Writer.