Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
Chiefs have urged Government to ensure that people in remote areas are not left out during food relief distribution since most of them have been hard hit by the prevailing drought.
The chiefs said over the weekend that the situation with regards to drought was “very bad” countrywide.
Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira said in an interview that experience had taught them that people directly affected by drought were not benefiting when food was distributed.
“As the president of the Chiefs’ Council, I am in touch with other chiefs and the drought situation is very bad,” he said. “In some areas, people have zero harvest and some of these include Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland.
“People have nothing to harvest while others whatever they have planted is not germinating because of lack of rain.”
Chief Charumbira said there was need to mobilise more resources to avert hunger, especially in the remote areas.
He said there was need to involve the affected villagers in the mobilisation of the food aid so that the right quantities are imported.
“We need to have an inclusive mechanism of food relief distribution,” said Chief Charumbira.
“People who have been directly affected by drought are not or have not been benefiting. This time with all the experience that we have, we should become inclusive in terms of distribution.”
Chief Charumbira said in future, there was need to promote small-holder irrigation schemes in the rural areas to safeguard food security.
“Some villages have perennial streams which should be harnessed for irrigation,” he said. “In the long run, we should consider irrigation as a number one priority.”
In Mashonaland West, some of villagers recently urged Government to ensure that they get food relief.
Speaking on behalf of chiefs in Magunje district recently, Chief Chanetsa (Mr Adam Katsvere) said there was no doubt that there would be hunger in the area because of drought.
“We have no doubt that we are going to have drought in this area because there were no rains,” he said.
“We urge Government to ensure that there is adequate food supplies for the people.”
Magunje legislator Dr Godfrey Gandawa said Government was making efforts to ensure that there were adequate food supplies.
“Drought is already there, but Government is making efforts to ensure that the country has adequate food supplies,” he said. “No one will starve.”
Dr Gandawa said he was aware that the GMB depot in the district had also stocked some maize.