16 April 2009
Zimbabwe's maize output is likely to fall 5 percent in 2008/09 despite a good season, the main farmers union said on Thursday, due to a new wave of farm invasions and farmers' inability to afford seed and fertiliser. [...] The slump in farm output has caused widespread food shortages across the country, where the U.N's World Food Programme says about 5.5 million people have needed food aid since the beginning of this year. Thousands of white farmers have fled Zimbabwe since the land seizures began in 2000, and the CFU says the few commercial farmers left cannot produce enough to feed the country.
15 April 2009
The skin of a giraffe lies discarded like an old coat on the ground. Alongside it lie a few bones. Isaac, a game warden of some 30 years' experience, points at the remains of the once elegant animal. 'This is what we are up against,' he tells me. 'How can we protect the animals when people are so hungry?' A country that is battling with starvation, cholera and 90 per cent unemployment now faces an extra challenge. Zimbabwe's starving millions are targeting wildlife in the country's famous game parks as a source of food and income. [...] The UN's World Food Programme now has responsibility for some 80 per cent of the people of Zimbabwe - a bigger percentage of the population than during the Ethiopian famine in the early Eighties. No wonder life expectancy in Zimbabwe today is just 34 for a woman and 37 for a man.
14 April 2009
Though the United Nations World Food Program has scaled down distributions of food aid to Zimbabweans with the arrival of the annual maize harvest, a spokesman for the agency said it anticipates mounting another large-scale feeding operation in the 1009-2010 season. WFP Southern African Spokesman Richard Lee said a survey to assess food availability will be conducted in June, but added that the harvest now beginning has clearly been diminished by widespread shortages of agricultural inputs such as seed and fertilizer. He told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the WFP meanwhile is continuing to provide rations to about 600,000 particularly vulnerable people, including those battling HIV/AIDS and households headed by minors.
9 April 2009
The World Food program says the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has improved because of the start of the annual harvest. [...] However, it says people who do not have dollars or other foreign money will continue to struggle to buy food. It says they also will find it difficult to have access to basic services such as health, education, water and electricity. WFP's public information officer for southern Africa, Richard Lee, says this causes concern. But, in a telephone interview from Johannesburg, Lee tells VOA, this is a good time of year for people who normally go hungry because more food is available in both the fields and in the shops. "However, we are likely to have a poor harvest this year," he said. "We still do not know exactly how poor it will be. But, it is likely to be poor. And, that means that people will start running short of food, particularly in the worst hit rural areas in the months to come. And, we will, unfortunately, need another large-scale humanitarian operation in Zimbabwe as we go through 2009 and into early 2010."
7 April 2009
Agriculture experts at the Netherlands-based Early Agglomeration Recognition System said Zimbabwe's 2009 maize crop will come in 4% short of last year due to uneven rainfall, but a Zimbabwean agronomist said the harvest now beginning could surprise on the upside. [...] National Director Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a partner of the United Nations World Food Program, said that with the arrival of the harvest his organization has suspended aid to the general population while it assesses crops and general food availability.
30 March 2009
President Robert Mugabe has appealed for international assistance to rebuild his self-battered country. Many aid activists are already salivating to this rapprochement from Africa’s most beleaguered president. The reason is simply that they never learn. However, they have a strong backing from the academic and entertainment industries.Irish rock legend Bono of U2 and his counterpart, Bob Geldorf of the seventies teen pop group Boomtown Rats are part of a clique one can safely refer to as ‘Angels of Mercy’ who habitually perceive Africa as an object of pity. [...] For us in Zimbabwe we even have firsthand experience on how free money in the hands of incorrigible rascals results in unmitigated disaster. Beleaguered Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono had for the past five years poured millions of foreign currency into what he termed ‘agricultural mechanisation programs’ for the benefit of President Robert Mugabe’s political support base. The Chinese, Libyans, Iranians and South Africans followed suit, yet the World Food Program reports that almost nine million Zimbabweans will require food aid this year.
19 March 2009
This recent contribution brings the total US humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe ’s food and health crisis to over US$260 million since October 2007. The US is the leading food donor, providing nearly 70 percent of all international food aid distributed in Zimbabwe through NGOs and the UN World Food Programme this year. In addition, the US will contribute over US$30 million this year for HIV and Aids programmes, in addition to paying for 33 percent of the Global Fund’s multilateral programmes
13 March 2009
The World Food Program (WFP) will soon run a pilot project in Zimbabwe in which it would go into partnership with small scale farmers and buy produce from them, a senior WFP official said on Friday. Visiting WFP deputy executive director Sheila Sisulu said the world body will diversify and expand its programs to promote food self sufficiency in countries by moving away from being a mere aid organization to one that promotes food self sufficiency. [...] "We had a very good discussion with President Mugabe about the role of WFP," she said, adding that the meeting with Mugabe also touched on the need for the WFP to move to programs that promote self sufficiency. Sisulu arrived in the country on Monday and is expected to leave on Friday after a week long visit to the country where millions are depending on food aid for survival following consecutive years of poor harvests.
11 March 2009
Production at the handful of functioning farms remaining in Zimbabwe has ground to a halt, with ongoing farm invasions and threats of evictions forcing farmers to abandon their crops. A fresh wave of farm invasions have seen more than 80 farms seized since last month and has left more than 100 farmers facing possible prosecution. [...] Zimbabweans are battling a crippling countrywide food shortage that has left more than seventy percent of the population in critical need of international food aid. The UN’s World Food Programme has in turn been forced to cut its aid rations to cater for the overwhelming number of starving people in Zimbabwe – a country that was once regarded as the breadbasket of Africa.
5 March 2009
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced Thursday that it would provide 45,000 tonnes of emergence food aid to 5.2 million Zimbabweans in March but said recipients would continue to get reduced rations to meet the high demand. The UN agency said 4.6 million or nearly 90 percent of the recipients would be from vulnerable groups such as young children and those suffering from diseases like HIV and AIDS.
- 1.4 Million Zimbabweans Receiving WFP Food Aid Source: VOA News
- Grim food security outlook for Zimbabwe Source: IRIN News
- More than 1.5 million Zimbabweans need food: WFP Source: UN Radio
- Zimbabweans Brace for Bleak Holidays Source: AP/ABC News
- Over 3.5 million people in drought-hit areas of Africa to receive food relief from UN Source: UN News Centre