23 February 2014

Zimbabwe: U.S Realigns Food Aid to Zimbabwe

THE United States has completed a process of realigning its food assistance support to Zimbabwe to foster a stronger foundation for long-term food and nutrition in the southern African nation.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton last week joined senior government officials to celebrate the launch of two flagship programmes -- Ensure and Amalima -- designed to ensure implementation of a variety of food and security programmes in the country.

America, through the Agency for International Development (USAid) food for peace office, has provided US$100 million over a five-year period, from 2013 to 2018.

"Through these two new projects, Ensure and Amalima, the American people will support an innovative approach towards ensuring food security and nutrition in Zimbabwe," Wharton told delegates at the launch of the projects last week. "Since 2009, we have changed the focus of our assistance to increased resilience and foster a stronger foundation that will promote and sustain long-term food and nutrition security."

The US government has committed over US$2,6 billion in humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe since 2002.

The programmes will benefit people in Manicaland, Masvingo, Mat-abeleland North, and Matabeleland South provinces.

It is estimated that the programmes will help more than 500 000 vulnerable Zimbabweans improve their nutritional status, increase their agricultural productivity and become more resilient in the face of economic and natural disasters between 2013 and 2018.

Local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, who was acting minister of agriculture, hailed the programmes for aligning with national food security priorities and pledged government's commitment to "closely and transparently" ensure the success of the programmes.

"Government will take a lead in resuscitating and strengthening the relevant local structures that shall be involved in the projects, such as the District Food and Nutrition Security Committees," said Chombo.

He said that food and nutrition were enshrined in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-econo-mic Transformation (Zim Asset).

"The focus of the two programmes is clearly consistent with and supportive of our strategic objectives contained in Zim Asset and the Food and Nutrition Security Policy," he added.

The latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) annual report projects that 2,2 million out of 13 million people in the country may be food insecure during the January to March peak hunger season this year.

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