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IOM rescues returnees, small-scale farmers

Tamary Chikiwa
in BULAWAYO

THE United Nations (UN), through its International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has distributed agricultural inputs to migrant returnees and small-scale farmers in Lupane, Hwange and Gokwe South and North districts.
In its latest report on how they are assisting the Zimbabwean government in alleviating Covid-19 related poverty in the southern region of the country, the IOM made donations to the specific districts after the government identified
them as the most-needy areas.

“The IOM, with support from partners, has supported migrant returnees and small-scale farmers through the distribution of 1 525 agricultural kits. “With assistance from the Department of Social Welfare, returnees in Gokwe North and South, Hwange and Lupane were identified as the ones in urgent need of reintegration support,” said the report.

The UN agency said this exercise comes as a commitment of the international organisation to alleviate poverty as well as assisting the government in fighting Covid-19 related challenges.

“To prevent migrant returnees from falling into crisis as a result of the negative socio-economic impact of Covid-19, IOM has provided livelihood support to the needs of the identified communities,” read the report.

Besides returnees, the UN noted an increase in urban hunger due to the Covid-19 lockdown after millions of Zimbabweans employed in the informal sector were left without work.

“The health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have been devastating. The rise in urban hunger has been one of its most tangible symptoms.

“Urban hunger has been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the World Food Programme (WFP) together with partners has been supporting the government to ring-fence developmental gains achieved in the past,” reported the UN.

The WFP is currently providing grocery vouchers for over 300 000 food-insecure urban dwellers across the country. The UN agency estimated that at least 5,5 million Zimbabweans would need food aid this year due to the impact of Covid-19.

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