3-month food allocation for villagers Prof Obert Jiri

Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter

ABOUT six million people in rural areas will require food assistance at some stage until the next harvest, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has said.

The distribution of the first batch of food aid has started and stocks are being moved to areas that need aid first.

As already announced, households will be receiving grain rations for three months in each delivery to minimise transport and administration costs.

The household ration is calculated at 7,5kg per person per month, so 22,5kg for each person in the household for the three-month delivery. A five-person household will get 112,5kg every three months, for example.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri said private businesses started importing grain last year and these imports were critical in curbing food shortages in the country.

Despite this serious drought, farmers were prepared, and some still have the stocks from the previous season.

The Government had also targeted the bigger wheat hectarage to curb food shortages.

All vulnerable and food-insecure households will have access to the grain as the Second Republic scales up efforts to fight hunger across the country.

So far, the Grain Marketing Board has 128 997 000 tonnes of maize, 40 000 tonnes of traditional grain, and 138 905 tonnes of wheat.

The Government will also start to import for its food relief schemes although statistics indicate that it will take several months before the imports are needed to supplement the local stocks in the Strategic Grain Reserves.

Zimbabwe’s budgeted annual consumption of maize and traditional grains is 2,2 million tonnes, with 1,8 million tonnes for food and 400 000 tonnes for stock feed.

Recently, the Government has also introduced new measures aimed at ensuring food availability which will take effect in July including duty waivers on the importation of rice, maize, potato seed, cooking oil and genetically modified maize for stock feed, whose milling and distribution will be strictly supervised.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said a three-month grain allocation is a good move that will enable the Government to cut costs adding that people will have freedom to manage their food.

“People will become responsible since they are allowed to manage their food. 

“We are grateful for this initiative which will ensure that no one will die of hunger. The community should be responsible because the Government has played its part,” he said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president, Mrs Depinah Nkomo, said distribution of food should be done fairly and transparently adding that monitoring of the programme should be strengthened.

“This is well appreciated because this shows that our President is committed to the welfare of his people. This also shows that if the programme is monitored well, we are sure that everyone in need will get the grain. People should also learn to budget the food,” she said.

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