MDC-T wants parliament to investigate food shortages

via MDC-T wants parliament to investigate food shortages | SW Radio Africa  by Tichaona Sibanda December 17, 2013 

The opposition MDC-T wants parliament to investigate food shortages as people in some rural areas are eating wild fruits from the forest to survive, the shadow Minister of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

Sam Sipepa-Nkomo, the MP for Lobengula, told SW Radio Africa’s Speak Out Padare program that he has travelled the country in recent days to look at the food situation and what he’s seen is ‘absolutely bad.’

‘This is a serious matter and government should move with speed to appeal to the international community for help. Our new constitution says nobody should starve and its time the government acknowledged the severity of the crisis,’ Nkomo said.

The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that about 2.2 million Zimbabweans will need food aid by the start of 2014, up from 1.6 million earlier this year. It’s predicted the food shortage will be the worst in four years.

Nkomo blamed the partisan distribution of food aid in drought prone areas as another contributory factor to the impending humanitarian disaster.

‘If you are not from ZANU PF you don’t get food aid. This is why I will be moving a motion in parliament to investigate why food distribution is done in a partisan way because as far as we are concerned this is a government for all Zimbabweans and not ZANU PF supporters,’ the legislator said.

Once known as the breadbasket of Southern Africa, the country now depends on international aid to feed hungry villagers, following seizures by the government of thousands of white-owned farms.

Rather than redistribute land to poor black farmers, as Mugabe claimed happened, the government gave many of the best farms to leaders of the ruling party. Most of the seized farmland now lies derelict because of a lack of farming skills and farming implements and lack of finance.

The country needs 2 million tonnes of grain a year for human and livestock consumption but only managed to produce 968,000 tonnes for the 2011/ 12 season.

For the 2012/13 season, production was projected to further plunge to 789,000 tonnes, forcing the government to negotiate food imports from Zambia, a country which has surplus maize after bumper harvests, spearheaded by white farmers chased away from their farms in Zimbabwe.