Zimbabwe's Poor Face Starvation

It said in its Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook July to December 2010 that Matabeleland, and Masvingo provinces were likely to be the worst affected by looming food shortages anticipated in October when most households run out of food as the planting season sets in.

“Though a majority of the households are currently food secure, the worst affected livelihood zones in specific provinces are the Poor Resource Kariba Valley (Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces), Beitbridge and South Western Lowveld Communal (Matabeleland South province), Save River and Ndowoyo Communal (Southern area of Manicaland province), and the Northern Zambezi Valley (Mashonaland Central province) which are likely to be moderately food insecure in the October to December 2010 period.”
It said generally, the food security situation was stable throughout the country, following improved harvests and the extension of the duty-free regulations to end of the year.

“This situation is likely to prevail throughout the July to September 2010 outlook period with the majority of poor rural and urban households meeting their minimum basic cereal requirements. However changes are expected in the beginning of the October to December 2010 outlook period as cereal production stocks will diminish for a majority of the poor households throughout the country.”

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) rural livelihoods assessment in May 2010 projected that about 1.3 million rural people will not be able to meet their cereal requirements at the peak of the 2010/11 consumption year.

Earlier this year, Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made announced that the government had banned donor agencies from giving free food while Matabeleland South Governor, Angeline Masuku also said her province, which is drought prone and is among the hardest hit, would reject any food aid.

Already there is a food deficit of 416 000 metric tonnes, due to poor imports and harvests.

Zimbabwe has had to rely on food aid since President Robert Mugabe embarked on a chaotic and ill advised land reform programme a decade ago. Thousands of white commercial farmers were pushed off their land, since then the country has experienced successive grain deficits. But Mugabe and his cronies blame this on recurrent droughts and sanctions imposed by the West.