Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The United Nations World Food Programme has identified Zimbabwe as one of the countries to engage in implementing its new strategic focus of promoting food security and nutrition, a concept that is also at the heart of the country’s economic blueprint Zim-Asset.
This was revealed by the World Food Programme country representative and country director, Mr Eddie Rowe, when he paid a courtesy call on Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday.
“One of the things which I should highlight is the UNWFP is going through a transformational change in which we have adjusted a new strategic focus and Zimbabwe is one of the first countries which we are implementing this new strategic focus which is to address the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are focusing on SDG 2 but most of our work activities also touch on the other SDGs. The fortunate thing is that our strategic focus is well aligned with the Zim-Asset and so we have a perfect alignment in both the focus objectives as well as in the implementation of the activities around SDG 2 and SDG 17,” he said.
SDG 2 targets to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. The UN adopted the SDGs in 2015 and they are at the core of Agenda 2030 and balance the economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainable development and place the fight against poverty and sustainable development on the same agenda.
Mr Rowe also said he had updated the VP on WFP’s activities in the country. “The meeting was to provide an update on the activities of the UNWFP is undertaking in supporting the Government in a number of ways. Our priority is on food and nutrition and we are also looking at resilience of smallholder farmers especially in enhancing capacity to be able to generate evidence that will influence policies in relation to health and in relation to food and security,” he said.
He added that that they had assisted 5 500 small grain farmers in Rushinga and Mudzi last year. “We are complementing the Government and in fact last year WFP, Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Ministry of Agriculture (Mechanisation and Irrigation Development) embarked on a pilot small grains programme in Rushinga and Mudzi where we worked with about 5 500 small grain farmers to produce small grains.
“We are so happy this year for the first time in a long time we will be procuring small grains from these farmers and this year we will be moving to expand into places like Chiredzi and Mwenezi in promoting small grains,” said Mr Rowe.