Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
About 4 million people in rural areas in Zimbabwe will need food aid between January and March next year due to the El Nino-induced drought conditions, the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report has revealed.
The Rural Livelihood Assessment that was conducted in May this year revealed that the number of the food-insecure early next year will be at about 4 million rising from 2,8 million people that was reported after the first ZimVAC report published in March this year.
As a result, Government intends to conduct another food assessment needs in urban areas to determine the food requirements in cities and towns.
This came up at the third Multi-Stakeholder Consultative meeting held in Harare last Thursday that was jointly hosted by the Office of the President and Cabinet and the United Nations System in Zimbabwe.
The meeting drew about 200 senior representatives from Government, diplomats, development partners, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and the media.
In a statement after the meeting, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Mr Bishow Parajuli, said it was important that the anticipated food shortages be addressed in advance.
“As the number of people affected by the drought rises to 4 million, the Government, UN, NGOs, development partners and the private sector have reinforced their collective commitment to continue to work together to leverage their response and ensure that no one starves or dies of hunger in Zimbabwe,” reads the ZimVAC statement.
As such, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Retired Colonel Christian Katsande, implored stakeholders to assist in cash and kind as Government conducted an urban livelihood assessment to determine their food status.
“This assessment is critical as it will provide a more holistic picture of the population deemed to be food-insecure in the whole country,” he said.
In an interview with The Herald, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Tapuwa Matangaidze said Government would endeavour to make sure no one lacked food.
“Government has currently in place, programmes to feed over 600 000 households, which translates to in excess of 3 million people, until March 2017,” said Deputy Minister Matangaidze.
“Indications are that, by then, 800 000 households, approximately 4 million people, will require food mitigation.