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THE United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said Wednesday food insecurity in drought-hit Zimbabwe is expected to spike from July as available stocks deplete.
The food insecurity has been worsened by the fact that this is Zimbabwe’s second consecutive year of below average maize supplies.
The country was hit by a devastating El-Nino induced drought this year which has left 4 million people, or 30 percent of the rural population, in need of food aid.
In response to the drought, the government in February launched a US$1.5 billion food aid appeal while humanitarian aid agencies need US$360 million to mitigate the impact of the drought between April and March 2017.
WFP country representative Eddie Rowe said they faced 199 million dollars funding gap for their humanitarian response program for the period April to March 2017.
The UN agency also projected severely reduced maize output for the current season, possibly not covering more than three months; a situation it said would exacerbate food insecurity.
“WFP anticipates that 2015-16 maize production won’t cover more than three months of domestic consumption requirements,” Rowe said.
Zimbabwe requires 1.8 million tonnes of the staple maize for consumption annually.
The WFP said cattle deaths, so far estimated at 25,000 between October 2015 and March 2016, were expected to continue due to the drought.
On its part, the WFP provided food assistance to 448,000 people affected by hunger in April and plans to assist 420,000 others in 13 priority districts between May and June, Rowe said.
An additional 43.5 million dollars was urgently required for the period May to October 2016 to achieve a planned scale up to 706,000 people by July-September and 1 million by October, Rowe said.
Rowe, meanwhile, said Zimbabwe needed to redouble efforts and make its priorities right if it is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030.
Having missed the Millennium Development Goal to halve extreme poverty and hunger, the country needed to exert concerted efforts to achieve zero hunger by 2030 especially by paying particular attention to addressing malnutrition and capacitating small holder farmers to withstand climate change, he said.
Zimbabwe, Rowe said, was better placed to achieve zero hunger by 2030 considering that about 80 percent of the population earned a living through agriculture.
“This means by focusing on that particular sector, you have already covered 80 percent of the needs so you are close to zero hunger,” Rowe said. source-zimbabwesituation