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Zim among world’s hungriest nations – Newsday

food aid

ZIMBABWE is among the world’s top 19 countries that face severe food shortages this year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said.

FAO’s latest report released yesterday in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) says Zimbabwe will face critical food shortages starting from October this year to January 2023 due to the country’s ailing economy and global conflicts.

The joint FAO/WFP statement came as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC) said it would distribute grain to nearly 2,5 million people in Zimbabwe in the last quarter to December this year as hunger hits the southern African nation.

A similar report by the World Bank early this week also adjudged Zimbabwe as the worst country in the world in terms of food price inflation. 

FAO and WFP said Zimbabwe was one of the acute hunger hotspots in Africa, a situation that has been exacerbated by extreme weather conditions.

Some of the 19 countries mentioned as hunger hotspots include Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

“Extreme levels of mortality and malnutrition may unfold without immediate action. The hunger crisis in Africa, where the longest drought in over 40 years is forecast to continue with Guatemala joining Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Madagascar that remain hunger hotspots,” the FAO report read.

FAO director-general QU Dongyu said: “The severe drought in the Horn of Africa has pushed people to the brink of starvation, destroying crops and killing livestock on which their survival depends. Acute food insecurity is rising fast and spreading across the world.

“People in the poorest countries in particular who have yet to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are suffering from the ripple effects of ongoing conflicts, in terms of prices, food and fertiliser supplies, as well as the climate emergency. Without a massively scaled up humanitarian response that has at its core time-sensitive and life-saving agricultural assistance, the situation will likely worsen in many countries in the coming months.”

Recently, a United Nations joint report on food security said the number of people facing starvation worldwide was expected to continue rising.

To avert hunger, the WFP will assist 560 000 people in Zimbabwe.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima recently told NewsDay that the number of food insecure people in Zimbabwe for the 2022/23 consumption year had considerably gone up compared to the previous year.

“During the peak hunger period between January and March 2023, 38% of the rural population (approximately 3,8 million people will need emergency food assistance. This has increased from 27% from last season,” Mavima said.

A joint statement by the ICRC regional director for Africa, Patrick Yousseff and IFRC regional director for Africa, Mohammed Omer Mukhier, said about 146 million people in sub-Saharan Africa face acute food insecurity.

Follow us on Twitter  @NewsDayZimbabwe

 

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EXPLAINER | US-Zimbabwe relations and targeted sanctions – News24

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PHOTO: Jekesai Njikizana, AFP

  • Eighty-three individuals and 37 entities are designated under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme.
  • The long-held argument by the ruling party is that the sanctions negatively affect trade and investment.
  • But the opposition says the ruling party is using the sanctions as an excuse for political failures.

African leaders have called for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by a law the United States Congress passed in 2001, during late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s regime.

At the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) in New York, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Union chairperson Macky Sall, who is also the president of Senegal, spoke about the need to remove the restrictions imposed by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (Zedera).

Over the past three years, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has marked 25 October as Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Day, hosting solidarity marches in cities across the region.

However, the sanctions in Zimbabwe have divided opinion.

READ | US stands firm over sanctions on ‘increasingly repressive’ Zimbabwe despite lobbying by Ramaphosa

Members of the ruling party claim the restrictive measures have a direct effect on ordinary civilians and frustrate policy space for the government’s development plans.

But the opposition, which is accused of calling for sanctions on the country, feels the ruling party is using the sanctions as an excuse for its political failures and for political mileage.

According to the US Embassy in Zimbabwe, the sanctions are “targeted financial sanctions against select members of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite for undermining democratic processes, abusing human rights or facilitating corruption”.

Man with makeshift cart to transport water

Tap water supply is unreliable in Chitungwiza in Harare. Some people now make a living carrying water for residents.

GroundUp Joseph Chirume, GroundUp

Thus, the US has, in the past, made it clear that it supports Zimbabweans’ push for the restoration of democracy, respect for human rights and better governance, as defined in the country’s 2013 constitution.

The US Embassy argues that “sanctioned members of the ruling elite continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions, commit human rights abuses related to repression, and engage in corruption.

“For these reasons, successive administrations have renewed the sanctions against those who continue to undercut Zimbabwe’s democracy.”

The long-held argument by the ruling party is that sanctions negatively affect trade and investment.

However, the US says that’s not true.

“US sanctions against the ruling elite do not block trade and investment with non-sanctioned individuals and entities. At present, 83 individuals and 37 entities are designated under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme,” Molly Phee, US State Department Assistant Secretary for African Affairs argued in an op-ed in March this year.

Data shows that trade between Zimbabwe and the US stands well above R1.4 billion and that as of last year, there was a US Department of Commerce-supported trade mission to Zimbabwe.

In comparison, this is more than Zimbabwe’s export receipts to Botswana (R651 million) and exports to Zambia (R1.2 billion) according to figures from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

Since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the US has been the single-biggest donor country.

Informal traders line the road that links Bindura

Informal traders line the road that links Bindura Town and the long-haul bus terminus. Among them are Zimbabweans who have returned from South Africa.

GroundUp Joseph Chirume, GroundUp

It accounts for R59.5 billion, covering health, humanitarian and development assistance, such as agriculture and livelihood sustainability.

For the Covid-19 pandemic, the US provided more than R816 million in support.

The US argues that for sanctions to be removed, “the Mnangagwa government can show the world that its citizens live in a safe, prosperous, equitable country regardless of their political views”.

“Let all Zimbabweans feel free to offer their fullest potential and work to build a stronger, more prosperous and more inclusive society.”

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


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R1,3 million windfall for Gwanda irrigation scheme – The Herald

The Herald

Elton Manguwo

SMALLHOLDER farmers at Sebasa Irrigation Scheme in Gwanda have started enjoying benefits from the Smallholder Irrigation Rehabilitation Programme after raking in an income of R1, 3 million from their integrated farming operations in seven months.

As calls for farmers to adopt modern agribusiness practices reach fever pitch, the Sebasa Irrigation Scheme has become the business model the Government is pushing for through the transformation of rural agriculture.

“The scheme, which is equipped with a state of the art solar powered irrigation system and a sand abstraction system is fully operational and functional and farmers are able to produce different crops all year around,” chief director Agricultural Advisory and Rural, Development Services, Professor Obert Jiri observed recently.

Besides being focused on national food security the Government through the irrigation scheme has been able to create a symbiotic relationship with farmers whereby it achieves its production targets whilst the farmers are set to benefit from the value chain as the Sebasa irrigation scheme is set to realise six tonnes of wheat benefiting 60 households.

The irrigation scheme’s location right at the outskirts and deep corner of the country envisages and captures the Government’s thrust of inclusive involvement of everyone in the development processes.

“The irrigation scheme is situated a kilometre from the Botswana border and this echoes the President’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind as the nation journeys towards the attainment of an upper middle income economy by 2030,” stressed Professor Jiri.

Prof Obert Jiri

Sebasa Irrigation Scheme in Ward 24 of Gwanda district was first established in 1968 then rehabilitated in 2021 after several years of inactivity. The 64-hectare scheme has 112 members.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka also stressed that the outcome of these result oriented projects directly impacted and accelerated the attainment of Vision 2030 when he addressed attendees at the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) conference in Gweru recently.

In addition, the Ministry has made key interventions such as the formation of the Irrigation Development Alliance to create an enabling environment for accelerated rural agriculture development in the irrigation subspace.

Irrigation development has been identified as a key accelerator towards uplifting people from poverty. With 60 percent of the population residing in the rural areas, the establishment of irrigation schemes will play a pivotal role in boosting agricultural production and maximise productivity.

The Government under the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme has commenced the resuscitation of communal irrigation schemes nationwide, which is a key enabler to small-scale farming economies.

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High inputs prices worry farmers – Newsday

MIDLANDS farmers say they are grappling with high costs of production as inputs prices soar ahead of the 2022/23 summer planting season.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) president Abdul Nyathi said: “We are worried that prices of farming inputs remain on the high side as we face the summer season.

“We are engaging government so that the issue can be addressed, and this is for the betterment of farmers and the agriculture industry in general.”

A random survey conducted by Southern Eye in Gweru revealed that the price of a 10kg bag of maize seed ranges from US$30 to US$40 depending on the variety and brand.

Figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show that the annual inflation rate last month dropped to 106,3% from a high of 285% in July.

But the Food and Agriculture Organisation last week adjudged Zimbabwe as the worst country in the world in terms of food inflation. A World Bank report also said that prices of basic commodities and food in Zimbabwe were very high.

Meanwhile, Lands and Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka said disease-induced livestock deaths had dropped by 50% owing to the tick grease programme.

Masuka said this while addressing farmers at the just-ended Zimbabwe Farmers Union 82nd congress in Gweru. The most common livestock diseases in Zimbabwe include theileriosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and heartwater.

The Lands and Agriculture minister said the country’s dairy sector grew by 17% this year compared to last year.

 

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