SCORES of villagers in Gwanda South are in dire need of food aid after most of their crops were written off due to low rainfall, a community leader has said.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
Former MDC Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Petros Mukwena yesterday said several families in Manama, Ntalale, Guyu and Zezani were in urgent need of food aid.
Mukwena said most villages did no harvest enough maize to sustain them through to the next farming season.
“We are plagued by severe food crises in Gwanda South. Families are fast running out of food and a lucky few are surviving on mealie-meal sent by relatives in South Africa,” he said. “What compounds the situation is that non-government organisations, which operate in the area have not started distributing food rations.”
Mukwena said the only food handouts available were benefitting Zanu PF members.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made is on record saying the country needs to import 700 000 tonnes of maize to avert hunger after annual crop yields plummeted by nearly 50% due to poor rains.
Not only are villagers facing hunger, pastures are fast deteriorating, a situation that would endanger livestock. In previous years during drought, farmers would move their cattle to areas with better grazing. Water levels in rivers and dams were also dwindling while some boreholes were drying up.
Zimbabwe has suffered perennial food shortages since the government embarked on a chaotic land reform programme in 2000 that displaced over 4 000 white commercial farmers.