‘Weak policies fuel food insecurity’

Source: ‘Weak policies fuel food insecurity’ | Newsday (News)

BY VANESSA GONYE

WEAK policy implementation, climatic shocks and natural hazards have made it impossible for Zimbabwe to ensure food security, local civil society groups have noted.

In a recent joint report titled The Politics of Food: A Contextual Analysis of the Distribution of Food Aid in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said despite government efforts to fund agriculture throughout the past decade, the country still remains largely food insecure.

This, the report says, has left the country heavily dependent on food handouts from well-wishers, mostly United Nations agencies.

“The government of Zimbabwe has greatly expanded direct fiscal agricultural support over the past decade, from less than 1% in 2013 to 4,2% of GDP [gross domestic product] in 2018. The noted increases have, however, failed to mitigate hunger and food insecurity in the country,” the report reads.

“Vulnerable families have had to borrow money, spend savings, sell productive assets, withdraw children from school, reduce non-food expenditure, sell land, beg for food, sell the last breeding stock to buy food and sell more livestock than usual. Failure to realise the right to food, therefore, impoverishes families.”

“The country faces perennial hunger and malnutrition challenges. For millions of people, food is not always available, they lack access to adequate food and they do not have the capacity to afford a basic balanced diet, even though the government has put in place a raft of food and nutrition policy and institutional frameworks anchored on human rights,” the rights groups said.

The report said corruption at the highest levels of government continues to undermine policy interventions and, in turn, undermines efforts aimed at stimulating and supporting sustainable food
production.

The food crisis in Zimbabwe has attracted the attention of countries like Japan which recently donated approximately 20 000 metric tonnes of maize to government’s food deficit mitigation strategy through the World Food Programme.

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