US$5m for water, food security

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
US$5m for water, food security The WFP has been providing food assistance to 96 682 people in Buhera during the lean January to March season, with beneficiaries are getting grain, beans and cooking oil

The ManicaPost

 

Samuel Kadungure
Senior Reporter

GOVERNMENT has secured a US$5 million anticipatory funding from the World Food Programme (WFP) to augment borehole rehabilitation and drilling in drought-stricken areas.

The funding is also expected to accelerate access to water and enhance macro irrigation as part of broader measures to promote climate smart agriculture and improve food and nutrition security.

The support comes at a critical time as the creation or rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation is required to mitigate food insecurity in areas worst affected by the El Niño-induced climate anomalies.

Many rural areas in Manicaland suffer insecure access to water for consumption and productive uses, a major constraint on rural poverty reduction as households are far from water points, thereby negatively impacting livelihoods.

Coupled with modernising agriculture in remote areas, water availability is capable of promoting rural diversification, sustainable and productive rural economies, while improving the quality of life of inhabitants.

The WFP kitty will complement the Presidential Rural Development Scheme in which Government is drilling and equipping a borehole in each of the country’s 35 000 villages and establishing a nutrition garden to accelerate the attainment of Vision 2030 by addressing food security, import substitution, poverty alleviation and eradication, access to safe and clean water and create employment opportunities.

It is part of Government’s initiative to make smallholder farmers more self-reliant when it comes to dealing with climate variability.

The funding was confirmed by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Dr July Moyo and WFP deputy country director, Ms Christine Mendes in Buhera recently.

Minister Moyo said Government is working on a number of initiatives to ensure that no one starves.

“We are assessing the situation to establish if people had planted and how much they have harvested. After assessing the crop and livestock situation, Government will engage its partners to discuss the mitigation measures to counter the effects of the drought as well as explore home-grown solutions to save our people from the effects of hunger.

“We are looking at the dams available in the country with a view to plant winter maize under irrigation. This season has seen significant crop failure, but we are also upping our game in terms of drilling solar-driven boreholes that can change rural livelihoods through irrigation. There are a lot of underutilised dams in Manicaland because irrigation systems were not developed. We are channelling resources there.

“We can beat hunger if we venture into smart agriculture which includes looking at home-grown solutions. We need to promote winter maize production. This is being done in Middle Sabi where maize has already been planted under irrigation in an effort to reap the rewards around August or September. I was talking to some farmers in Birchenough Bridge where they have irrigation and have already planted winter maize, something we can replicate across the country to mitigate food insufficiency,” he said.

Minister Moyo said one of the local churches pledged to put 2 000 hectares of winter maize under irrigation with Government’s assistance.

“President Mnangagwa has assured citizens that no one will be left behind in the poverty alleviation scheme, and if we implement the Pfumvudza methods he endorsed, we can safely eradicate food deficiency, and no one will die of hunger,” he said.

Minister Moyo said WFP is winding up its operations in Buhera this month, and expressed Government’s gratitude since beneficiaries have been religiously getting food hampers.

“The beneficiaries will continue receiving food hampers in April and May, and will be joined by more food insecure families. Everyone will be given food handouts. Government and its partners will make sure that no one dies of hunger. We will ensure that people will not suffer when we can implement plans to actualise President Mnangagwa’s objective that no one is left behind in the development trajectory,” he said.

WFP deputy country director, Ms Mendes said they cannot ascertain whether there is drought or not in Zimbabwe or say how many people were affected before the release of the 2024 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report.

She, however, gave an overview of initiatives taken to overcome the lean period.

“We cannot call it a drought at this point because we still have to do the assessment report. However, there were predictions last year that we will have an El Nino-induced drought in the country, and in partnership and collaboration with Government, we took some measures to do what we call anticipatory action.

“We secured US$5 million to buy boreholes spare parts and to drill some in remote areas so that communities can have access to water and irrigation at household level.

“We also bought cowpeas which are more resilient to harsh weather conditions. They were distributed in November in selected communities so that when food stocks are running low they can have something to eat. In some cases, we are supplying technical assistance and knowledge on climate proofing and also working with Agritex to promote climate smart agriculture in the country,” she said.

The WFP has been providing food assistance to 96 682 people in Buhera during the lean January to March season.

Beneficiaries are getting grain, beans and cooking oil.

One of the beneficiaries of the WFP gesture, Mr Lovemore Rusidzo, was relieved after getting his allocation.

Mrs Matinetsa Mahungwa of Mureriwa Village said the programme was seamless, with no commotion during food distribution.

Ms Febby Musarurwa of Mbijo Village said the programme brought food security in the area.

 

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