Runesu Gwidi Masvingo Correspondent
Nearly 350 000 people in the drought-prone Masvingo Province are in urgent need of food aid with Government and development partners currently working out mechanisms of availing assistance.
The majority of those in need of food relief are in rural areas with a small fraction of urbanites. Some parts of the province were hit by drought owing to erratic rains that blurred a promising 2017/18 agricultural season.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Ezra Chadzamira said Government had enough grain to feed all those in need of food aid and reiterated President Mnangagwa’s assurance that no one was going to die of hunger in the country.
Cde Chadzamira said Government was collaborating with humanitarian and development agencies to provide food relief to drought-ravaged communities in both urban and rural areas under the Drought Relief and Mitigatory Strategy.
“Research on the food security situation in this province has shown that 318 775 rural people and 27 007 urbanites are food insecure, and therefore urgently require food handouts from the Government and its implementing partners.
“Some of the districts like Mwenezi and Chivi have poor rainfall patterns that result in perennial crop failure. So far, coordinated efforts by the Government and its partners are already in place to supply food relief to hunger-stricken people,” Cde Chadzamira said.
He encouraged farmers in the province to fully utilise land they benefited from the Government’s land reform program which sought to address colonial land imbalances in the country.
“We urge farmers to make full use of the land they got. We are fully convinced that irrigation is the only way to go, especially in areas which normally receive erratic rains.’’
Cde Chadzamira said Masvingo Province had the capacity to positively turnaround its economic fortunes and to a large extent the whole country through full utilisation of existing water bodies which include Tugwi-Mukosi Dam.
Tugwi-Mukosi is Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body with a capacity to irrigate more than 25 000 hectares in arid parts of southern Masvingo.
The dam, with a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres, is touted as a permanent panacea to recurrent food woes in the drought-prone province through a planned greenbelt that is billed to extend from Chiredzi to the east right up to Mwenezi in the West.