Govt has enough to feed 2,7 million food insecure people

Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter

Government has enough grain in stock to feed 2.7 million people who were food insecure from last year up to June and plans are in place to feed those with deficit this year, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has said.

Minister Moyo said they will be expecting an increased number compared to last year, but revealed that for now, those who are vulnerable are still adequately catered for.

From the crop assessment this year, the Government noted a silver lining in the 2023/24 summer cropping season despite the El Nino-induced drought.

Huge strides have already been made in the agricultural sector with Zimbabwe registering record-breaking yields in cereals and grain production under the Second Republic.

Other key sectors like the dairy industry, which went down at the turn of the millennium, are all picking up as the Second Republic continues to support agriculture business.

Despite pacing up with smart agriculture initiatives with which the Government seeks to guarantee national food security, Zimbabwe still relies on rain-fed farming and an adverse weather forecast  spells doom for the country’s summer crop.

“Last year we were food secure as a country, we had a bumper harvest as a country,” said Minister Moyo.

“The country was food secure but still in those circumstances there are other households who will be food insecure, this is the 2,7 million we are still providing food aid to. So we are still giving them.

“This year we are still analysing, the Ministry of Agriculture will give us the actual situation, but we know that many families will be food insecure.

“The arrangements to make sure that all those that are food insecure are taken care of. That is what we are looking at, but we are looking at starting from June going forward.

“Those who were not food insecure last year must have a plan that they only dispose of their crops after the harvest.

“So, we are preparing for those who are vulnerable, and we are still distributing right now to those who are food insecure, the Ministry of Agriculture will get the food and ours is to distribute to the vulnerable groups,” said Minister Moyo.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka last week told President Mnangagwa that the country had over 400 000 tonnes of grain in its strategic reserve at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

“So, as of today Your Excellency you have 450 000 tonnes of cereals you have in your GMB strategic grain reserve,” said Minister Masuka.

Going forward, the Government will be stepping up efforts to combat climate change-induced challenges to agricultural production and ensure perennial food security in the country, whether it rains or not, as part of the developmental trajectory towards an upper-middle income economy.

Zimbabwe has come a long way from a position of hunger and food insufficiency through strategic planning by the Government and nutritional improvement is the next frontier with which authorities are working.

President Mnangagwa is priming the Government to go a step further and make sure that the available food is not only enough, but of the best quality and nutrition.

Policies by the Government to promote agriculture have seen the country remain on track to achieve food security, self-sufficiency, wheat self-sufficiency as well as nutrition security by 2025.

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