EU avails funding to Zim

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe will receive €4 million (about US$3.9 million) under the European Union’s €600 million European Development Fund for food aid, which will complement existing government food deficit mitigation programmes.

The funding, to benefit selected countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP), will see other beneficiaries in the Southern Africa region including Madagascar get €4 million while Mozambique will receive €8 million.

EU Commission commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said the support would help beneficiaries shoulder the consequences of food shortages.

Global shipments of food supplies, mainly wheat and maize, have been interrupted because of the Russia-Ukraine war, resulting in increased food inflation.

“In the short-term we are helping families with food and nutrition assistance and helping countries to buy the food they need; as part of the Global Gateway strategy, we also work on solutions to address current and future risks by investing in local sustainable food systems to enhance resilience.”

Adding on, commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarčič, said the Russia/Ukraine conflict had exacerbated challenges brought on by climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Just now famine is knocking on the door in Somalia. The newly allocated funds will help those in a dire situation meet their emergency food needs. The EU remains committed to support the most vulnerable. However, humanitarian aid cannot substitute efforts needed to increase resilience of most vulnerable populations. Sustainable development-oriented solutions to end hunger are crucial.”

However, the food situation is Zimbabwe is not dire, with authorities putting in place mechanisms to assist vulnerable households.

In June, the government said the food deficit mitigation programme would require up to 30 000 tonnes of grain per month.

With the Grain Marketing Board already holding sufficient stocks to meet demand, the food deficit mitigation programme has already been activated, while efforts to ensure food security are afoot.

For example, Zimbabwe is poised to record a bumper wheat harvest this year following a robust winter programme meant to shield the country from the effects of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

Also, to mitigate the impact of climate change, the government has also embarked on a massive dam construction programme, and is also rehabilitating broken down irrigation schemes while new ones are being established.
Plans are in place to open at least 50 000 hectares of land per year under an accelerated irrigation development programme, as the government ramps up the pursuit of measures to mitigate effects of climate change.

Development of irrigation schemes country-wide is part of the government’s overall aim to ensure the country’s food security through reducing reliance on rain fed agriculture.

The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme is also assisting farmers with seed, fertiliser and herbicides, to shore up food supplies.
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