French aid group to tackle urban food insecurity

aidworkers_offloadA French humanitarian aid group is set to launch a food security programme in Zimbabwe next month, in an effort to tackle food shortages in urban areas. The group, Solidarites, will launch its food security initiative from July 1, targeting people in urban and urban-fringe areas who dont have access to land.

Solidarites already operates in 13 other countries, and targets those countries torn apart by war and natural disasters, a category into which Zimbabwe falls after years of misrule and tyrannical abuse of power.

By supplying tools, technical support and horticultural training, the aid group hopes to provide urban dwellers with family vegetable plots that can be used for food and a source of basic income. Solidarites will also be building irrigation wells to serve the vegetable plots, allowing those families in urban areas to benefit from having a means of food subsistence.

The initiative comes as more than half the population is wholly dependent on food aid to survive, with crippling food shortages affecting the majority of Zimbabweans. With more than 94% unemployment, most Zimbabweans are not earning the foreign currency needed to buy the imported food that is now available in shops. At the same time, local food production has reached critically low levels as a result of the new wave of farm attacks sweeping the country, which in turn have left thousands of farm workers without jobs.

Humanitarian groups last week issued a revised appeal for aid, requesting more than US$700 million just to meet the food requirements of desperate Zimbabweans. The figure is a jump of more than US$150 million from the original appeal launched in November last year, and is a warning sign of the humanitarian crisis that is still gripping the nation.

Post published in: Politics

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