THE World Food Programme (WFP) has said it urgently needs US$300 million to combat hunger in Zimbabwe, which will likely affect over 60 percent of the population by the end of this year.
This comes as the United Nations food agency recently appealed for US$250 million to boost food assistance in the
country amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. WFP communications and donor relations officer Adrienne Bolen told the Daily News that the Covid-19 pandemic had aggravated an already serious hunger crisis in Zimbabwe, resulting in the upward review of the funds needed to sustain food programmes until early next
“WFP is currently scaling up to support more than 320 000 of the most vulnerable food insecure people in Zimbabwe’s 22 urban domains through its Urban Social Assistance Programme. At the same time, WFP will also
be providing life-saving food assistance to one million people through our Rural Lean Season Response programme
in October, November, and December,” Bolen said in an interview recently.
“WFP urgently needs more than US$300 million to prevent millions of the most at-risk Zimbabweans from plunging deeper into hunger during the next six months, from October 2020 to March 2021,” she added.
This also comes at a time when the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) has projected that 56 percent, or 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 owing to the combined effects of economic recession and Covid-19.
ZimVac in partnership with Unicef, the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and government of Zimbabwe
indicated that approximately 5 454 270 individuals in rural areas will be food insecure between January and March
2021, 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 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.
“In the rural areas, households were negatively affected by Covid-19, resulting in 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.
“The most reported effects of Covid-19 on families include reduction of income sources (51,5 percent), reduction of food sources (50,1 percent) and failure to access basic commodities (21,2 percent),” further read the report.