Food Programme can change villagers’ lives

The United Nations World Foods Programme has partnered with the government and a non-governmental organisation on life-saving projects in hunger-stricken Buhera South.

The project team leader, Felix Mutamachimwe of AfriCare.
The project team leader, Felix Mutamachimwe of AfriCare.

WFP, which is working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and AfriCare, is operating in various wards in the Buhera South constituency under Zanu (PF) MP Joseph Chinotimba.

Buhera is one of the area’s most affected by low rainfall and the subsequent scarcity of food.

The projects include repairing tanks, cleaning out dams and building weirs and toilets in wards 17, 19 and 22. More than 800 households and 2,000 animals are set to benefit.

Last week, The Zimbabwean visited the site of the tank, which was installed in 1963 but has been out of use for many years because of silting. The silting has been caused by the fact that most major farmers in Buhera are practising riverbank farming because of the poor rains.

About 500 members of the community at risk of hunger were selected to work on the dam project.

The villagers are allowed to work for 60 hours a month from Monday to Wednesday and each household receives 50 kilos of cereals such as maize and sorghum, 10 kilos of pulses, beans or peas and just over four litres of oil a month as an incentive.

WFP spokesperson Thompson Phiri said the incentives were meant to encourage the community to work for a life-sustaining asset that would benefit all.

The project team leader, Felix Mutamachimwe of AfriCare said: “when there is water, they will be able to continue gardening activities thereby improving their produce.

They will plant green mealies and vegetables. A dam of this nature in this area is also a livestock water point.”

Mutamachimwe, however, said he was disappointed that they would manage to catch between 7,500 and 8,000 cubic metres against a target of 10,000 to 12,000. He said the shortfall was a result of government ban on NGO operations ahead of the July 31 elections.

The project chairman in Muzirikazi village, Erasmus Chikati, said the entire community welcomed the project, as it would go a long way to helping bring water for their gardens and livestock.

Chikati said their cattle used to travel 30km to Mpeza village, which resulted in the death of many of their calves.

“We do not receive normal rains here. Our harvests are poor every year and we normally rely more on our gardens than our fields. So having such a project will definitely improve our yields,” said Chikati adding that they currently depend on hand-outs and donations.

Chikati urged the NGOs to spearhead other workshops to encourage communities to stop riverbank farming.

Headman Chenaimoyo said the project was bringing life back to the villagers and their livestock.

Post published in: News

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