Govt averts hunger in Manicaland

17 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Govt averts hunger in Manicaland Government-led food distribution and Social Cash Transfers capped at US$32 for a family with four members have been extolled for strengthening household resilience and improving immediate food and nutrition security of vulnerable groups in the face of the El Nino-induced drought in Manicaland

The ManicaPost

 

Samuel Kadungure
Senior Reporter

ABOUT 3 300 metric tonnes of grain have been distributed in Manicaland as Government moves to mitigate the negative effects of the El Nino-induced drought, whose severity reduced the volumes of cereals during the 2023/2024 agricultural season.

Poor rains caused partial or total crop failure in most parts of Manicaland, exacerbating socio-economic vulnerabilities especially in rural communities reliant on rain-fed agriculture.

Buhera and Mutare were the hardest hit districts, with harvests lasting between zero and three months, followed by Nyanga and Mutasa whose harvests will only stretch three to six months, while Chimanimani, Chipinge and Makoni harvests can last between seven and nine months, and requiring food aid thereafter.

This prompted President Mnangagwa to declare a State of Disaster in April, culminating in a household-based and village-coordinated vulnerability assessment concluded on April 15 by the ministries of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare and Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

Additionally, the Food and Nutrition Council is currently conducting assessments on rural and urban livelihoods – dubbed Zimbabwe Livelihoods Assessments (ZIMLAC) to inform policy on the extent of vulnerability and magnitude of assistance required in both areas.

Secretary for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mr Abiot Maronge on Wednesday said Government has availed all the resources to distribute grain in all food-stressed areas in the province.

“So far 3 334.44 metric tonnes of grain have been distributed in the province as follows: Buhera (2 465.41mt), Chipinge (1 115.23mt), Chimanimani (179.84mt), Makoni (97.80mt), Mutare (410.65mt), Mutasa (30mt) and Nyanga (39.50mt).

“Beneficiaries will receive 7.5kg per person per month from May to July, which adds to 22.5kg per person for three months. Government has availed all the resources to access all hard-to-reach areas. For urban areas, we are waiting for the urban ZimLAC programme to be completed,” said Mr Maronge.

He said between now and July 2024, the province will have a case load of 1 087 314 people needing about 8 154.86mt of grain per month.

Buhera has the highest vulnerability, with 208 078 people requiring 5 311.13mt per month; Mutare (178 524) with a monthly requirement of 1286.06mt.

Nyanga has a case load of 84 227 people needing 1338.93mt and Mutasa 136 606 people who require 987.05mt per month.

Chipinge has 236 050 food insecure people who require 580.16mt, while Makoni has 171 457 people who need 631.70mt per month.

He said World Food Programme (WFP) completed its lean season assistance in Buhera in March.

About 1 087 314 people in Manicaland were left food insecure after the El Nino-induced drought destroyed 84 781 hectares of planted maize before it reached maturity, resultantly lessening productivity by 66 percent and adversely impacting their food and nutrition security situation and quality of diets.

The second round of Crops, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment Report (CLAFA-2), approved by Cabinet on Tuesday, revealed that Manicaland planted 275 047ha of maize, with a deflated yield of 0.41 tonnes per hectare.

 

This gave an output of 112 765 metric tonnes, which is a far cry from 333 149mt produced during the 2022/23 season.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, attributed the poor harvests to erratic and insufficient rainfall accompanied by the prolonged dry and hot spells.

“The extended dry spell significantly impacted the beginning of the rainfall season, resulting in the October rainy period being a false start to the season. Dry spells had a significant impact on most farmers as their crops were at a critical growth stage.

“From February 2024 until the end of March 2024, there was minimal rainfall activity, with only sporadic light showers and scattered drizzles occurring in certain areas. Only a few areas such as Chipinge and Nyanga had the highest number of rainy days, ranging from 30 to 45. The rest of the country experienced between 10 and 30 rainy days.

“November, December, January, February and March experienced a significant drought compared to their average historical precipitation levels. November exhibited significant aridity in comparison to its historical average.

The El Nino phenomenon significantly and adversely impacted seasonal rainfall’s spatial and temporal distribution.

 

The 2023/2024 rainfall season has witnessed largely below-average rainfall.

 

The dry conditions had an adverse effect on the commencement of planting nationwide, resulting in a substantial decrease in the area planted,” he said.

According to the CLAFA-2, sorghum output in Manicaland was reduced by 45 percent from the 10 765mt produced in 2022/23 to 5.883mt produced this season, while pearl millet output decreased by 84 percent from 20 977mt in 2022/23 to 3 426mt this season.

Finger millet decreased by 82 percent from 5 696mt in 2022/23 to 1 023mt this season, while cotton output declined from 9 138mt last season 2,967mt this season. S

 

unflower decreased by 86 percent from 16,926mt in 2022/23 to 2, 316mt this season while groundnut decreased by 75 percent from 27,635mt in 2022/23 to 7,042mt this season.

CLAFA-2 noted that 47 percent of the wards will face critical grazing shortage from July onwards, while only 12 have adequate grazing to last next season. Only 24 percent of the wards will have adequate water until the next season, while 76 percent will face water challenges by October.

The report said Manicaland has 49 191 bulls, 250 564 cows, 109 019 heifers, 84 056 oxen, 44 564 steers, and 106 560 calves, giving a total provincial herd of 643 954 whose body condition is fair.

“The body condition of beef cattle is fair to good. Poor body condition was reported in only four percent of the wards. Supplementary feeding will be required to maintain the national herd at a fair to good condition,” reads the report.

Manicaland this season produced 10 340mt and 420mt of maize and sorghum silage, respectively.
The report noted that national cattle mortality decreased from six percent in 2022 to 4.6 percent in 2023 due to improved animal husbandry practices and animal health management, especially the effective control of tick-borne diseases.

However, disease still contributes the highest cause of cattle mortality (68 percent) followed by drought (13 percent).

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