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Govt prioritises food security


Harare(New Ziana)- President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday implored his Cabinet to focus on ensuring food security so that citizens do not starve as a result of the current drought, an official has said.

The World Food Programme said an estimated 7.7 million people were food insecure in Zimbabwe as two weather extremes severely affected last year’s crops while this year’s rainfall patterns also point to another failed harvest.

Presenting the outcome of the first Cabinet meeting of 2020, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said President Mnangagwa emphasized the need to ensure food security for all citizens.

“While noting the progress made by the second Republic, particularly the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), the President acknowledged the challenges that the people are grappling with. He reiterated that as Cabinet, our immediate priority must be to guarantee food security and directed that all efforts be focused on that front to ensure that everybody gets food,” she said.

Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector, which is regarded as the backbone of the economy, has under-performed in recent years largely due to recurrent climate change induced droughts.

The country suffered a catastrophic drought in the 2018/19 farming season, which was also compounded by a tropical cyclone which destroyed crops and livestock in the eastern parts.

Finance Minister Professor Mthuli confirmed Government had set aside adequate resources for the importation of grain for daily consumption and to beef up national stocks.

“In Davos (Switzerland) I met with two companies that are expecting to raise additional resources for the importation of grain. We know how much we need, on a monthly basis which is 110 000 metric tons of grain.

“We have a clear importation programme, we have contracted several companies who have already started transporting the grain. We have issued lines of credit.

“But the target would be to make sure that we build reserves with non-genetically modified grain (GMO) while GMO is for immediate consumption.

“Also the international community has been supporting us. As Zimbabweans we should feel comfortable that we are on top of the situation through government’s doing and the assistance of the international community. As Government we are on top of the situation,” he said.

Stocks in the country’s Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) are down to below 100 000 tons from the mandatory 500 000 tons as the effects of recurrent droughts are being felt.

To cushion citizens from the effects of the drought, the government has commenced a grain importation programme to ensure that families do not go without.

The government food relief programme is also being rolled out to urban households for the first time in many years.

New Ziana

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