Kudzai Matanga Rusape Correspondent
GOVERNMENT is working hand-in-glove with a humanitarian agency in Makoni to put in place contingent measures to assist households faced with acute food shortages in the district.
About three quarters of the district during the 2018/19 farming season received insignificant rains due to the effects of the El Nino drought, leaving thousands of families in dire need of food aid.
The hardest hit areas are Makoni West, Makoni Central, Makoni North and Makoni South constituencies, with the situation being relatively under control only in Headlands.
Assistant district development coordinator Mr Darlington Museka said Government, through the department of social welfare is providing food aid to 7 000 people per month while Action Aid will be assisting 49 146 people starting October this year.
“Government is making sure that no one starves, and there are concrete plans to ensure that every deserving person gets food aid. In four of the five constituencies in Makoni district, the situation is not good at all because of erratic rainfall received during the just-ended farming season.
“Government is distributing food aid to 7 000 vulnerable people in the district per month and if resources improve more will be taken on board. We have also engaged Action Aid which is going to assist 49 146 people in the district,” said Mr Museka.
Action Aid regional manager Mr Peter Matimati said they had given priority to 10 wards in the district where the situation was dire.
He said the drought has also resulted in the death of lots of livestock.
Mr Matimati expressed concern that most farmers were now neglecting food crops for cash crops such as tobacco.
“The reason why people continue to experience food shortages is because most of them are focusing on more on cash crops like tobacco and cotton which are more profitable than food crops.
“Action Aid is assisting people living in poverty by doing projects that include Lean Season Assistance (LSA) which is a way of giving out funds; porridge feeding schemes catering for over 15 000 school children; nutritional gardens and rehabilitation of infrastructure so that people can have access to clean water and proper dipping facilities for their cattle. The most affected wards in the district are 1, 2, 3, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 and 36,” said Mr Matimati.
Ministry of Women Affairs representative Mr Emilio Chihono hailed the Government interventions saying it will go a long way in protecting women and girls who are the first victims of calamities such as drought.
“When it comes to drought, you realise that most cases that are coming through our service provision units such as child marriages, are on the rise. If you are to trace what exactly will be happening, you realise that people are hard hit with hunger,” he said.