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USAID, WFP, Caritas feed 69k Chivi villagers


Contrary to assertions by the Government that there is enough food stocks to feed the nation, at least 69 000 villagers in the arid Chivi district have started receiving food aid from donors as part of the lean season food assistance program.

The program is being rolled out by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP) and Caritas as implementing partners.

USAID poured in US$11.27 million to the WFP in Zimbabwe, ensuring that approximately 230,000 of the most vulnerable people in Mwenezi, Mangwe, Chivi, and Buhera districts will receive critical food assistance during the January to March 2024 lean season.

For villagers in Chivi they have since last week started receiving cooking oil, sorghum and yellow peas as part of the food aid.

Headman Takura Dzimati during one of the distribution exercise in his area in ward 14 said he was happy that the donors managed to identify the most vulnerable individuals in his area as beneficiaries.

“We do not receive enough rain yearly and most of the time our people do not have enough food to feed their families.

“The situation is even dire for the elderly in our community, child headed families and the disabled, who are the beneficiaries of this food aid. 

“This will go a long way to ensure they sustain themselves for the next few months while we wait for further interventions, as a community leader I am grateful,” he said.   

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report, 26% of the rural population will not have enough cereal for consumption and need over 100,000 MT of maize grain during the peak period.

In addition, the predicted El Niño weather phenomenon during the 2023 to 2024 rainfall season indicates below-normal rainfall and high temperatures, which could lead to low production and further increase food insecurity.

The funding from USAID will enable WFP to complement the Government-led Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy Programme, which will assist 2.7 million people in all districts across Zimbabwe to help mitigate household food stock depletion, minimize negative coping mechanisms preventing the most vulnerable people from falling deeper into food insecurity.

“Our goal is to ensure that everyone in the country has access to nutritious foods and can consume the recommended amounts.

“The assistance we are witnessing today, which includes cereals, pulses and fortified vegetable oil, is an important contribution to help the most vulnerable people in rural areas to meet their nutritional needs.

“I would like to thank USAID for their crucial contribution, which undoubtedly goes a long way in saving lives,” said Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Zimbabwe representative and country director.

As WFP delivers assistance this lean season and beyond, it will continue to enhance monitoring to best serve vulnerable families across the country.

USAID’s latest contribution to WFP’s food and resilience activities in Zimbabwe brings the total funding from the organisation to over US$24.3 million in 2023.

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