The government has stepped in to provide food relief to thousands of urban households in Bulawayo and Harare, as millions of Zimbabweans are faced with starvation.
According to the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report, Zimbabwe’s government needs about US$218 million to stave off hunger that could affect 5.5 million people in the country.
Speaking in Parliament recently, the Minister Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare says the government is feeding at least 12 000 vulnerable households in the two cities.
“According to our assessment so far, we are feeding 12 000 households in Bulawayo and Harare,” said Minister Nzenza.
The Chikomba East legislator said the situation has been made worse by the drought situation in the country.
“The policy on food distribution stipulates that food must be provided to all vulnerable households when resources are available. Regarding urban poverty, this year we have experienced the draught that was compounded by Cyclone Idai and on top of that we have had an increasing demand for food in the urban areas,” said the Minister.
Due to limited resources, the government has not managed to extend its food relief programme to other urban centres in the country.
“We are also getting support from the World food program to have a pilot urban feeding program in Epworth. However, we have not yet extended to other cities outside Harare and Bulawayo,” said Minister Nzenza.
According to ZimVAC Zimbabwe will initially need 818,323 metric tons of cereal mainly corn, and further 525, 000 tonnes to see it through to harvests in 2020.