WFP projections bleak

The World Food Programme says that more than one million people in Zimbabwe will be unable to meet their food needs during the lean season between now and March.

According to the WFP, some families have already started skipping meals and reducing the meal portions in order to preserve the dwindling reserves.

“Most of the vulnerable households are located in the southern and western regions, which are very susceptible to dry spells. Agricultural production in these regions was once again poor this season. The situation is made worse by the economic downturn and we’re already seeing families resorting to skipping meals and reducing portion sizes,” said WFP country representative, Felix Bamezon.

Most of the areas that have already been struggling to meet family food needs are in the drought-prone regions of Matebeland, Masvingo and parts of the Midlands.

According to the recently released Zimbabwe Vulnerability Rural Livelihoods Assessment, 12 percent of the rural population will not have the means to feed themselves during the lean season. Most at risk are low-income families hit by failed harvests, and households with orphans and vulnerable children. Although food is generally available in many rural areas, it is too expensive for those with limited resources.

WFP and its partners have already started providing seasonal targeted assistance. This initiative is designed to bridge the gap with food distributions, cash transfers and food vouchers. WFP has secured funds to launch the response, but additional funds are needed to keep it going.

“Longer-term measures such as greater investment in agriculture and the livestock sector are essential. But for now, those who are most vulnerable need urgent assistance,” added Bamezon.

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