Happiness Zengeni and Martin Kadzere
THE District Development Fund has completed a document which outlines modalities on the implementation of a Food for Work programme, with a Cabinet minister calling on the prioritisation of productive activities largely aimed at achieving food security. In face of the worst drought in close to two decades, Government is re-introducing public work programmes that will see food provided to beneficiaries in exchange for their labour.But only those with capacity will participate. Those who are unable will receive food aid under Government drought relief programme.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka said DDF had finalised the document which has already been sent to all country’s provinces.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the programme should be designed in a manner that promotes productivity, particularly irrigation to ensure the country is self-sufficient in terms of food requirements.
“We need projects which have significant social economic impact,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
“We need our people to provide labour on projects such as irrigation schemes . . . projects that help the country achieve food security rather than working on projects that have little or no impact on the economy. They should be well designed to ensure the objectives of Zim-Asset (the country’s blueprint) are achieved.”
Minister Kasukuwere said while the Government had put in place some measures and resources to alleviate food shortages in light of the El-Nino induced drought, efforts must be equally put in place to harness domestic resources to build self-food sufficiency.
He said the country was spending a lot on money on grain imports when such resources could be deployed to revive irrigation schemes. Government has so far secured about $200 million to import grain mainly from North and South America and Europe.
This year, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said $7 million would be directed towards irrigation development, targeting 11 290 hectares.
He said challenges related to unpredictable rainfall patterns due to climate change demand that the country invest in irrigation schemes and maximise on the use of existing facilities.