Source: Govt gets headstart on La Nina | The Sunday Mail July 17, 2016
GOVERNMENT has secured US$400 000 to support small-scale farmers to avert the impact of the impending La Nina phenomenon, which is likely to cause flooding during the 2016/17 summer cropping season.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira signed on to receive funding from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation when she attended a meeting on El Nino and La Nina in Rome, Italy early in July.
The funding will be directed towards agriculture, livestock and water access; while hundreds of communal households will get support for small grain production.
Minister Mupfumira told The Sunday Mail, “We signed a statement of intent with FAO director general José Graziano da Silva on the sidelines of the one day meeting after we had made presentations of our situation.
“They pledged to support us with US$400 000 to support our small-scale farmers most of whom were adversely affected by last year’s drought.
“Our presentation at the meeting focused on agriculture, the impact of the El Nino induced drought and the declaration of the drought as a state of emergency and disaster as well as the humanitarian appeal for US$1,5 billion.
“We also touched on our appeal for grain assistance of 500 000 (tonnes).”
Reads part of the statement of intent: “FAO in Zimbabwe plans to assist affected farmers and herders with agriculture, livestock, water access and coordination activities in 2016 and 2017.
“Specifically, FAO intends, through the Technical Cooperation Programme, to provide emergency support for drought-affected households, with an estimated budget of US$400 000.
“The project would ensure that small grains production is restored by enabling the most affected households to access small grain seeds, training and improved extension services.
“Furthermore, value addition would be increased through improved post harvesting techniques, reducing post-harvest losses.
“Livestock production will also be restored through improved access to water points for pastoralist households.”
Experts say the 2015/16 El Nino weather phenomenon was one of the most intense and widespread in the past century. It directly affected food security of 60 million people worldwide.
Over 40 million people in Sadc require food aid, four million of them in Zimbabwe and Government declared a state of disaster following widespread crop failure.
Now the region must contend with El Nino’s obverse in La Nina, with forecasts indicating a 55-70 percent likelihood of the episode developing towards the end of 2016.
The La Nina phenomenon is expected to occur as early as this month in the same regions which were affected by El Nino.