Food situation worsening daily
RENOWNED lobby group, Eye on Food Security Zimbabwe says government should consider declaring the country’s food security situation a national disaster so that local and international financial institutions can unlock financial support.
This comes as the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak is threatening to exacerbate Zimbabwe’s dire economic and hunger crises, drastically affecting the lives of people in both urban and rural areas, the World Food Programme (WFP) said.
With the southern African country’s already severe climate and recession induced hunger crisis deepening, and the outbreak of Covid-19 impacting on the economy, the WFP said Zimbabwe needs US$472 million to feed 7,7 million people until December this year.
Eye on Food Security Zimbabwe chairman on Friday said amid the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, food security has become a major concern, especially to vulnerable communities across in the country.
“The food security situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 Pandemic, the adverse weather conditions such as Cyclone Idai and low rainfall, sanctions against Zimbabwe, mismanagement of our grain stocks among other factors,” he said addressing journalists.
Many Zimbabweans now finding it more difficult than ever to put food on the table as the pandemic has impacted heavily on various sources of livelihoods.
Eye on Food is working to ensure that government and private sector actively participate towards United Nations Sustainable Goal number 2 which ensures zero hunger.
Malinga said in the wake of the food shortages, his organisation recently petitioned the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Finance to support local farmers and work with them towards ensuring food security.
“We believe that with adequate financial support, our farmers can innovatively meet the demand for food in the country,” Malinga said.
“Our farmers need all the support they can get for them to produce enough to feed the nation.
“The issue of food is not just an issue of profit and business sense, but it is an issue about people’s welfare, happiness and health.”
Malinga said his organisation also intended to petition the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture.
“We will also petition the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture compelling them to ensure that the agricultural sector receives more deliberate support to boost food production and subsequently ensure that we are a food secure nation,” he said.
“We believe that the Parliamentary portfolio committee has focused on politics and politicking at the expense of food security in the country.
“In our petition, we urge the committee to go out, meet the farmers, hear their needs and provide oversight on government policy and policy implementation in the farming sector to ensure that our farmers can comfortably feed the nation.”
Malinga also expressed concern over nefarious activities going on in the grain industry.
“Eye on Food Security is deeply concerned by the activities going on in and around the grain industry.
“The food security situation is at a critical juncture where food and in particular grain should not be restricted to profits but should focus on feeding the people.
“Zimbabweans need affordable food, the people need affordable roller meal and bread. Now is not the time to be pointing fingers or throwing mud at each other.
“The grain industry needs all players to put shoulder to the wheel and get Zimbabwe’s food warehouses and silos full again,” added Malinga.