President assures food security for urban dwellers

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday reiterated that his Government will ensure that all the vulnerable households across the country receive food aid, including those staying in urban centres.

Speaking in the Somabhula area of Vungu District in Midlands Province, where he commissioned the second phase of the Fibre Optic Backbone Network, spearheaded by a foreign investor Bandwidth and Cloud Services (BCS) Group Limited in Africa, the President said the country has enough grain stocks to feed its people.

Zimbabwe and the entire Southern Africa, are facing a severe drought due to poor rainfalls this season caused by the El Nino effect, which has resulted in crop failure.

President Mnangagwa

Government has already kick-started grain distribution to vulnerable groups and is carrying out livestock and crop assessment surveys, to ascertain the extent of damage brought by the  drought.

President Mnangagwa, who also launched three key ICT policies at the same event, said Government was seized with collating statistics of vulnerable families from ward level, in both the rural and urban areas before rolling out enhanced food distribution.

“I have always reiterated that no one will die of hunger in Zimbabwe and at the same time we must appreciate that the drought is not only in Zimbabwe. We are going to pass this phase into the next rainy season,” he said.

“I was talking to my neighbour and friend, President Hichilema (of Zambia), who said he has since declared drought a national disaster in that country, with central Zambia the most hit. 

“Also, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia are facing drought but as Zimbabwe we have enough reserves to feed the affected families.

“We must always be ahead of the situation. I was also talking to my brother, Mokgweetsi Masisi from Botswana and my counterparts in Namibia about the impending drought.”

President Mnangagwa said the Government has kick-started an exercise to identify the affected families so far with the help of local leadership so that they get Government assistance.

“We have two ways of assessing the drought situation at household level in both our rural and urban setups, the first one we are using our local leadership, the councillor, then village heads and the Member of Parliament, to identify vulnerable families so that we can then assist,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the Government has the data of the number of tonnes that the country needs in terms of grain to feed the nation.

“In Zimbabwe, I want to assure you there will be no starvation, we know how many tonnes of maize we need to get there and we have started organising how to start feeding the affected. 

President Mokgweetsi Masisi

“Our chiefs, our councillors and the local leadership are compiling the number of households in need of food so we can assist them.

“In towns and cities we will also identify families who are affected, but our assessment so far with Minister Masuka is that with the reserves we have, we are going to make it through to the next season.

“We are aware of climate change and we must remain united together. We will overcome these hardships caused either by God or humans, we have to navigate through these hard times,” said President Mnangagwa. 

“We have a model of agriculture, which will address food security at household level. We introduced a climate proof agriculture programme like the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme and this has helped us hence our situation is not as dire and we will be able to feed the affected ones.” 

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