Japan has announced a contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) of more than US$4,2 million to boost food and nutrition security among families in Zimbabwe. In a statement yesterday, Japanese ambassador Mr Yonezo Fukuda said the money would be useful to alleviate hunger in areas that experienced drought last season.
Mr Fukuda said that the funding would not only cater for the drought-affected people, but would also help the vulnerable in rural areas and people living with HIV and Aids.
"Japan's contribution will help fund various WFP initiatives including programmes to assist vulnerable rural households until the next harvest and malnourished HIV/TB patients, women and children," he said.
"Unfavourable weather patterns continue to have a negative effect on harvests, resulting in widespread food insecurity and support is designed to sustain the most vulnerable and make them better able to cope during difficult times.
"Japan's support enables WFP to increase its assistance to people most at risk so they can lead more productive lives.
"At this year's Tokyo International Conference on African Development, Japan reaffirmed its commitment to fostering development in Africa by pledging contributions of US$32 billion to the continent over the next five years."
A mid-term fiscal policy review for the Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development indicated that 798 600 tonnes of maize would be released in 2013, down from an initial projection of 1 100 000 tonnes.
This is a further reduction from the 968 000 tonnes recorded in 2012. The poor maize output is mainly a result of the erratic rainfall witnessed during the 2012/13 season, which affected yields.
Out of the 1 442 845 hectares planted, 177 605 hectares were written off because of drought and this reduced harvested areas from 1 265 237 hectares to 967 229 hectares during the same period.