Desperate Villagers Face Starvation After Good Harvest

Situated about 45 kilometres north east of Karoi town under Chief Kazangarare, it had become a lively rural business area where villagers could meet and drink so as to forget their problems .

Many of these business centres throughout Hurungwe district are suffering the same fate as communal farmers prepare for the coming farming season, though they had better harvest last season.
Villagers used to have cash on them that was coming their way after selling maize from their last season’s mean harvest that they knew could not last long.
Desperate villagers sold part of the maize that could have seen them through the next harvest but they were lured by money that some had to spend drinking here.

Villagers were meeting buyers from as far as Masvingo, Ngundu, Gutu among other areas throughout the country who could come to get maize for resell in their areas.

This made the rather passive rural business centre with aging shop walls showing off hard years gone by but giving out a lively place to be as it was good for partying villagers. Now it is a pale shadow of itself and buyers are spending more than two weeks to get 50 kilograms of maize.

‘’Villagers here no longer have maize to spare and we are spending more time without any hope to get it. It was one of reliable suppliers of maize and villager were accommodative but now you can hardly see them here’’ says Nedson Moyo a maize buyer from Ngundu situated over 700 kilometres away from Karuru.

Moyo had brought with him groceries among them sugar, soap cooking oil for barter trade if they demand it but no one is forth coming with the maize.

‘’It used to be clean business for everyone but I am loosing hope as these villagers are no longer have maize but I had orders from Ngundu.’’ he says.

Moyo is among maize buyers who had flooded Hurungwe and says he used to buy 20 kilograms of maize for as little as US$2. 50 before it were increased to US$4 though it was fetching US$10.00.

“Maize is still in great demand in Masvingo and other areas where people are facing starvation due to poor rains’’ he adds.

“We were desperate and now we are starving. Though we were selling it in bits and pieces, we are regretting now’’ says 65 year old Mbuya Matilda Karambamuchero of Chimwanja village.

In Karambazungu under Chief Matau, villagers blame the Grain Marketing Board for its failure to pay farmers on time.

“If GMB was paying us on time then we could have sold it there and bought something tangible but alas we are counting our losses’’ adds Martin Muchera.
GMB, one of the loss making government parastatal is seeking funding from the treasury to pay up farmers who delivered maize in May.

“Villagers go through this nearly every year and will never learn”, laments an agriculture extension worker who declines to be named.

Hurungwe farmers have the good rains pattern and better soils to thank that their starvation is limited not in Masvingo where it is perennial‘’ he concludes