Harare (New Ziana) – The government led food production programmes are yielding positive results as confirmed by the latest Poverty, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey (PICES) which showed a marked decline in the need for households, particularly in rural communities, to buy key foodstuffs such as maize meal, cooking oil and meat last year.
The survey, which was conducted by the Zimbabwe National Statistic Agency (Zimstat) last year, showed that fewer households were severely or moderately food insecure in 2021 especially in rural areas.
According to the survey results released on Thursday, household consumption of own produced maize-meal, for example, was high in rural areas at 72 percent, cooking oil five percent while chicken was 32 percent.
At national level, consumption of own produced maize-meal was 53 percent, cooking oil three percent, while chicken was 24 percent.
“There was a marked decline in the need to buy key foodstuffs such as maize meal, cooking oil, and chicken in late 2021, particularly in rural areas. This may be explained by a bumper maize harvest in the 2020/2021 agricultural season and increase in consumption of own-produced oil and chicken,” said Zimstat.
Commenting on the results, Zimstat director general Taguma Mahonde said the results were representative of the urban and rural population.
“There was marked decline in food poverty (in 2021) as households consumed own output maize, cooking oil and chicken especially in rural areas,” he said.
“Food insecurity fell from 72 percent in 2020 to 39 percent in 2021. Extreme Poverty rate declined from 49 percent in September 2020 to 43 percent in September 2021.”
The Second Republic, spurred by the mantra, leaving no place and no one behind, is championing several household and national food self-sufficiency programmes across the country including the widely acclaimed climate smart agriculture model commonly referred to as Pfumvudza.
In addition, the government has included sunflower seeds among inputs given to farmers as it seeks to substitute sunflower oil imports.
Further, to mitigate effects of climate change, the government is constructing several dams as part of a deliberate strategy to move away from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation.
The new water bodies, some of which have already been completed, are expected to assist food-insecure communities through providing water for irrigation and fish from fishery projects.
The government expects to open up at least 50 000 hectares of land per year under an accelerated irrigation development programme.
In March, the government through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority had rehabilitated irrigation schemes, including Arda Transau, Chilonga, Mananda, and Sherwood Block that cover a total of 4 423 hectares of land.