Sunday Mail Reporter
GRAIN distribution to vulnerable households will be discontinued next month while the Government recalibrates the programme to target only households that fail to harvest adequate grain this season, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima has said.
The Food Deficit Mitigation Programme will be stopped briefly and will only commence after the 2021 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) report has been finalised, he said.
Zimbabwe is primed to record a bumper grain harvest this season on the back of a good rainy season and timely input distribution to farmers by the Government.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Minister Mavima said the Government will remain on the lookout for any distress calls.
“In line with the Food Deficit Mitigation Program policy, Cabinet has approved the re-targeting exercise for 2021-2022 cycle,” he said.
“We will stop grain distribution at the end of April, which coincides with the end of the peak hunger period.
“Distributions will only commence after the 2021 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) results are published and retargeting done.
“The Ministry will however, be on the lookout for distress calls even during the period of retargeting.”
He said results from the Zimvac assessment will inform the re-targeting exercise.
“To ensure that assistance is channelled to those districts and areas that have the highest levels of food insecurity, a targeting methodology based on vulnerability assessments (first and second Round of Crop Assessments and the May Zimvac) has been developed for the national, district and community levels,” said Minister Mavima.
“The results of these assessments will inform the re-targeting exercise which will be based on science. The FDMS will be implemented in most food insecure districts as identified by the second crop assessment and the May Zimvac Rural Livelihoods Assessment results.
“Assistance will depend on the estimated level of vulnerability.”
He said over 735 000 vulnerable households are receiving food handouts every month in the country’s eight rural under the grain distribution programme.
Minister Mavima said the Government last disbursed Covid-19 allowances to vulnerable households in September last year.
“We have not received funds for this programme in 2021. However, cash transfers for the 23 Child Protection Supported Districts continue.
“Allowances for cash transfers have been raised from $300 to $1 500 per month per household of 5 people. There is no Treasury authority to extend Covid-19 allowances beyond December 2020.”