- Title: ZIMBABWE: U.N. agency says 2.2 million Zimbabweans face food shortages
- Date: 5th September 2013
- Summary: BUHERA, ZIMBABWE (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SEATED AT FOOD DISTRIBUTION POINT MAIZE SEEDS IN SACK BEING POURED INTO BUCKET CLOSE-UP OF MAIZE SEEDS IN BUCKET VARIOUS OF WOMAN WALKING HOME WITH BAGS OF CORN
- Embargoed: 20th September 2013 13:00
- Location: Zimbabwe
- Country: Zimbabwe
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Economy
- Reuters ID: LVA5QGYWGMWVU658E0VHPF719YD0
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Zimbabwe faces its worst food shortages in four years following a drought and poor harvest, the U.N. World Food Programme said on Tuesday, (September 3) a month after veteran President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF disputed re-election.
Many districts, particularly in the south, harvested very little and people are already trying to stretch out their dwindling food stocks.
Victoria Cavanagh, spokesperson for WFP in Zimbabwe said over 2 million people would be adversely affected by the food shortage.
"The food security situation is deteriorating and it's the worst since 2009. The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee(ZIMVAC) rural livelihood report estimated that 2.2 million people, that one in four of the rural population will be needing food assistance in the pre-harvest period early next year," said Cavanagh.
The agency said it was working with the government and other international aid organisations to provide food assistance to about a fifth of Zimbabwe's 13 million people from October until the next crop harvest in March/April 2014.
Cash transfers will also be used in selected areas to give people flexibility and help support local markets.
The latest food shortages were due to bad weather, high seed and fertiliser costs and projections that food prices will climb because of the poor maize harvest.
"When you look at food security, you've really got to look at a number of factors. In any country, the politics, the political environment and policies are a big part of food security but also climatic conditions and access to inputs such as fertilisers and seeds. The 2012 to 2013 growing season was worse. Rainfall was more unfavourable, it was late, there were some flooding in January and then there was a prolonged mid-season dry spell. Even in the region, Zambia was also affected. They produced less than they did last year. So, I don't think you can cut out those climatic reasons," added Cavanagh.
2009 was the peak of a decade-long economic crisis critics blame on Mugabe's policies, notably his government's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
Mugabe, 89 and Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, maintains he was correcting ownership imbalances created by colonialism.
Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, who were declared overwhelming winners in a July 31 election rejected as a fraud by his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai, have promised food imports and said no Zimbabwean would die from hunger.
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