Declare 2023/24 farming season a disaster: Opposition 

Source: Declare 2023/24 farming season a disaster: Opposition –Newsday Zimbabwe

OPPOSITION Nkayi South legislator Jabulani Hadebe has called on the government to declare the 2023/24 farming season a national disaster because of the devastating effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

In his letter addressed to Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development minister Anxious Masuku last week, Hadebe said this was the time to mobilise humanitarian aid to feed hungry masses for months to come.


A number of African countries are reeling from the El Niño-induced drought, with Zambia having banned maize exports to ensure available stocks are reserved for its people.

Last week, Hadebe also raised a motion in the National Assembly, imploring the government to declare the current farming season a national disaster.

“In the last two weeks, I had the opportunity to visit so many rural provinces and what I discovered is that thousands and thousands of our farmers have lost their crops and millions of our people will face starvation,” Hadebe submitted in the Lower House.

“I would like to implore the government, especially the Executive, to declare this farming season a national disaster.”



In response to his submission, the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi advised Hadebe to submit his question in writing to allow the responsible ministers to conduct independent investigations.

A day later, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Parliament that the country was food self-sufficient.


“We are faced with a drought, but we are not yet food deficient,” Ziyambi said.



“We have pockets that did not perform well the previous season. So we are in the middle of assessing the extent of the ravages of El Niño and we are coming up with a package to ensure that as a nation, we will be food self-sufficient.”

Ziyambi urged Zimbabweans not to panic, even as indications are proving otherwise.

Last week, the government removed duty on mealie meal and other products beginning July to avert looming food shortages because of the drought.

“We do not want the nation to panic that we are not food self-sufficient right now,” Ziyambi said.

“We are doing the assessment so that at the end of the day, we will come up with a plan of action that will ensure that Zimbabweans do not starve. We will look at options that would need genetically-modified organism if need be.”

On Friday, Hadebe insisted that the government could never be trusted and called on authorities to simply declare the farming season a natural disaster to pave the way for international assistance.