via ‘63pc below food poverty line’ | The Herald December 4, 2013 by Lloyd Gumbo
About 63 percent of Zimbabweans are below the food poverty line as a result of poor salaries and low food production, Acting Principal Director in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Sydney Mhishi told Parliamentarians yesterday.This deals a major blow to the Government’s agenda to meet the Millennium Development Goal on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
Mr Mhishi made the remarks when he together with permanent secretary in the ministry Mr Ngoni Masoka, appeared before the Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals.
Chief Mtshane chaired the committee.
In his presentation, Mr Masoka said Government was lagging behind in eradicating poverty and extreme hunger before allowing Mr Mhishi to expand on the subject.
“As a country, we have not done very well on that goal (eradication of extreme poverty and hunger),” said Mr Mhishi.
“Poverty levels have remained high with population below food poverty line as high as 63 percent. What it means is, generally around 63 percent of our households in urban and rural areas have an income which cannot make them purchase sufficient food or are they producing enough food to take them through the season. As a result, poverty and hunger levels continue to be high.”
He attributed this to drought which resulted in poor yields.
Mr Mhishi said according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment report, about 2, 2 million people were in need of food aid at the peak of hunger period.
To improve food security, Mr Mhishi said Government committed to give input support to small holder farmers representing about 1, 6 million families. He said Government also introduced the harmonised social cash transfer programme targeting over 33 000 households.
Mr Mhishi said maternal mortality rates continued to rise with 960 mothers dying per every 100 000 live births, way above the revised MDGs target of 560 per 100 000 live births.
“Infant mortality is also very high at 57 per 1000 live births. The prevalence of HIV and Aids has slightly increased from 13, 7 percent to 14, 6 percent.”