Rural hunger on the rise, says ZimVac


Sindiso Mhlophe



THE Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) has projected over five million people in rural areas are going to be food insecure during the peak hunger period between January and March 2021 owing to the combined effects of economic recession and the effects of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

In its recently published 2020 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report, ZimVac in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), Unicef, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), indicated that more than 5 million individuals in rural areas will be food insecure, requiring 807 232 tonnes of grain.

“Forty-three districts are projected to have more than 50 percent of their households having inadequate means to meet their food needs without resorting to severe livelihoods and consumption coping strategies. Manicaland (914 695) and Masvingo (878 542) are projected to have the highest number of food insecure people during the peak period,” read the report.

The report further revealed that Mashonaland East will have 768 419 food-insecure individuals during the peak period followed by Mashonaland Central with 692 211, Matabeleland North 461 618 and Matabeleland South with 341 221.

“The second quarter of the 2020/21 season is projected to have 36,8 percent of the households to be cereal insecure. Food consumption score and dietary diversity for rural households is on a continuous decline.

“The consumption of oil, meat and legumes has dropped indicating a worsening food access and food diversity challenge.

“Iron and protein rich food consumption is also on a decline.

“The lack of most of the essential food elements can result in negative nutrition and health outcomes,” read the report

“In the rural areas, households were negatively affected by Covid-19, resulting in the reduction of incomes, food sources and failure to access basic commodities. In summary, their livelihoods were negatively affected, resulting in limited disposable income thereby affecting their food security.

“Thus, the government’s choice to save human lives, by implementing the lockdown, comes at a price to the economy thereby increasing the government’s burden of responsibility, especially on people’s food security status.”

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