HARARE – Drought-hit Matabeleland South is in urgent need of food aid, following a recurrent drought which has left the province with little to sustain its people, amid fears of loss of livestock due to lack of pastures.
Ezimnyama village in rural Plumtree is one such village in Matabeleland South province which has been affected by perennial drought and is in great need of food relief.
Welshman Ncube-led MDC councillor for ward 12 in Ezemnyama, Kakaka Ndlovu said the area should have been declared a disaster area, but no action has been taken by the relevant authorities.
“The villagers do not have much to eat and we fear for our livestock if the rain does not come,” Ndlovu said.
“There is no food and the little that we get from aid is not enough to cater for the entire community. Our grazing areas have depleted due to the recurrent drought and that has affected our livestock production which has been thriving for years.”
He lamented discrimination in the distribution of the food and money by the social welfare.
“All the aid that comes into the society comes through the District Administrator who is a Zanu PF supporter and is biased towards serving people from his party at the expense of the entire community.
The other problem that we are facing is that when we finally get aid, there are always squabbles on matters of distribution, leaving vulnerable groups like the elderly and orphans with nothing. So we appeal to the donors to come to our aid lest we die of hunger,” said Ndlovu.
Districts in Matabeleland South which have been worst hit by the drought include Gwanda, Kezi, Mangwe and Bulilima. It is reported that farmers are losing 50 beasts every week due to drought.
Village head Fanyana Maisa told the Daily News on Sunday that people in the area needed food aid since they did not reap much this year and called on the donor community to help curb the looming food crisis.
“We do not have food in this village and many families eat one meal a day because a majority of them do not have money to buy maize meal. I call upon the donors to give us food and repair boreholes which have since stopped functioning, leaving the villagers hard done,” said Maisa.
In order to curb the erratic rains president of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, Silas Hungwe last week said farmers in areas prone to drought should grow small grain crops which are drought tolerant.
Zimbabwe is one of the southern African countries hit by drought this year, leaving over 14 million people in the affected countries in urgent need of food aid.