via Two million to need food aid: WFP 20/09/2014
AT least 25 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population will need food hand-outs or they will starve, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
In its latest report on the food situation in Zimbabwe, the WFP said the country will not meet its Millennium Development Goal of eradicating hunger by 2015.
“Dramatic progress has been made in the past decade from 6 million people who were undernourished in 1992 to 500 000 (in 2014) people who will need food at the peak of the lean season (2014-15), as compared to 2.2 million last year. 25 percent of the rural population are in need of food support,” the UN agency said.
“We can end hunger in our lifetime, but this means it must be at the centre of the political agenda but this cannot be done by a single sector, many countries have managed to eradicate hunger and have met their target in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Zimbabwe, which used to be a net exporter of food, has been relying on food hand-outs from aid agencies after President Robert Mugabe embarked on a chaotic land reform programme in 2000.
The land seizures decimated the once thriving agricultural sector on which the country’s industry had been anchored.
David Phiri, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) regional coordinator for Southern Africa, said Zimbabwe along with a few other countries had made efforts to feed itself but these efforts remained inadequate.
“In 2000 countries agreed on the targets of the MDGs, governments agreed that by 2015 they would have eradicated poverty and many countries have managed to do it, I am pleased to say in our sub-region here Angola, Malawi, Mauritius have already managed to reach the MDG target with Mozambique set to meet the target by 2015.
“The remaining countries in the region have made progress but they have not made enough progress to reach the target despite these efforts. Some of the reasons for failure relate to conflict and natural disasters,” said Phiri.
“According to recent FAO estimates, levels of hunger continue to decline in developing countries. Key figures show that globally 805 million people are chronically undernourished with developing countries making up the lion’s share at 791 million in 2012-14.”
Phiri said one in every four people in southern Africa is undernourished.
“Ending hunger must be at the centre of the political agenda and political programmes and legal framework, there is also need for human and financial resources, evidence based decision making and strengthening resilience,” he said.