Government increases food handouts

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Harare (New Ziana) – Government has added more people to its social food assistance programme as the country is now in the peak hunger period following last year’s drought, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Prof. Paul Mavima told New Ziana programme beneficiaries now totalled 3.7 million, up from around 2.4 million people last month.

He said beneficiaries, most of whom were drawn from drought-prone marginal areas, received monthly allocations of 10 kilogramme of grain, and cash ranging from US$12 per person to US$60 per household.

“We are in the peak hunger period, and as government we have increased the number of beneficiaries of our food assistance programme to ensure no one starves,” he said.

Prof. Mavima said government was the main funder of the programme, providing assistance to 3.2 million people, and the rest supported by donor agencies – predominantly the World Food Programme.

Zimbabwe, and most other countries in the region, suffered drought last year, and has had to import food. But in spite of this, the government vowed no one would starve, and stepped-up food assistance to most vulnerable people across the country.

With a good farming season beaconing, the programme is likely to start tampering off around April when the new harvest begins to come.

New Ziana

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