CHIPINGE – Legislators from both Zanu PF and the MDC here agree there is need for government to urgently intervene and help avert the worsening food crisis that has seen many turning to wild fruits to survive.
Chipinge, which falls in the Save Valley, is one of the most arid areas in Zimbabwe and the erratic rains have made life almost unbearable.
According to aid organisations at least three million people are in need of urgent food aid to avert starvation nationwide and nowhere is this more apparent than in rural areas.
And with response from government painfully slow, Zanu PF Chipinge South legislator Enoch Porusingazi told the Daily News that there is need for food aid to cover everyone and not only those who were last year classified as vulnerable groups.
“We need another vulnerability assessment because those who had a little left in their granaries last year no longer have anything as well. Everyone here is now vulnerable and in need of government assistance,” Porusingazi said.
Musikavanhu MDC legislator Prosper Mutseyami, whose constituency borders Porusingazi’s, said his constituency is now recording high death rates, particularly of people suffering from chronic illnesses.
“People with chronic conditions are dying here because of malnutrition. Government should move fast to place everyone here under its aid umbrella.
“We have had years of successive droughts and they are now taking their toll on people, particularly with complicated health conditions already,” Mutseyami said.
Both Chipinge South and Musikavanhu lie in agro-ecological region 5 and are right at the epicentre of Manicaland’s drought and hunger story.
Thousands of cattle have died in the area since August last year with a slight improvement in pastures towards the end of January.
Speaking in separate interviews, the two MPs said the livestock numbers are yet again in decline.
“The pastures no longer have grass anymore. The rains the country experienced in recent months did not reach us,” Porusingazi said.
His counterpart agreed, adding that there is need to destock and then restock.
“We still believe that government should help local farmers to destock and then restock when we are out of this drought. Our situation is fast deteriorating,” Mutseyami said.