12 August 2010

Zimbabwe: Food Security Improves, but 1.68 Billion People Still Need Food Assistance

Photo: IRIN
Maize being grown at Huambo's Agricultural Institute in Angola.

Part  of  this  will  be  covered by commercial imports, projected to total 317,000 tons of cereals, including 200,000 tons of maize. The  mission  estimated  1.68 million Zimbabweans would be food insecure in 2010/11  and  133,000 tons of food assistance would be needed to feed them.

The report said that general poverty and chronic food insecurity had led to reduced  diversity  of consumption and had also contributed to an increased prevalence  of  chronic  malnutrition  among  young  children.  The  report indicates  that  lack of liquidity remains a constraint to accessing inputs and increasing food production.

The  2009/10  input  assistance programme, jointly formulated by AGRA, FAO, IFAD and WFP, proposed a quick impact programme that aimed to substantively boost smallholder staple food production in Zimbabwe. The  international  community responded well and FAO received contributions from  a  number of donors, such as the European Union, the United States of America,  the  Netherlands,  Sweden,  Spain  and  Finland.  The EU made the largest  financial  contribution under the European Union Food Facility for Zimbabwe in the amount of €15.4 million ($20 million).

In  total  51,  500  tons  of fertilizer and 6,500 tons of maize seeds were distributed   to   738,000   households.  FAO  also  promoted  conservation agriculture  that  helped farmers to improve soil fertility through the use of  techniques such as maintaining soil organic cover, reducing tillage and better crop rotation.

The  programme also promoted the use of vouchers which farmers could use to get  the  inputs they needed from local suppliers. The agricultural support programmes  need  to  be  continued  during  the  next  planting  season to consolidate the gains achieved so far.

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