Harare – A ground-breaking study of food security in Zimbabwe was launched by Zimbabwe’s Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the capital, Harare, on 15 June.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Review aims to refocus attention on the critical issues for attainment of Zero Hunger in Zimbabwe. It explains the UN Secretary General’s global Zero Hunger Challenge and contextualizes it for Zimbabwe. It provides an overview of the food and nutrition security situation in the country and establishes an understanding of the country’s demographics and socio-economic context.
“Approximately US$300 million is required to import food to cover the deficit and see us through to the next harvest, and we’re hoping that it will be significantly better than the current one,” said the Acting President at the launch. “I am therefore calling on all our partners from development agencies and the private sector to assist us in providing the necessary resources to ensure that not even one of our communities nationwide is exposed to hunger and starvation.”
It concludes that, despite the enormous challenges Zimbabwe is facing, the country has made significant progress in achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli said Zimbabwe has already achieved the MDG target on HIV/AIDS.
“Zimbabwe has made great strides in reducing maternal mortality by one-third, increasing child immunization to 69 percent and maintaining primary school attendance at a high level of 94 percent. However food and nutrition security remains a challenge as the report notes,” he said.
Parajuli added that the challenge for Zimbabwe is to sustain and replicate the progress made in some sectors over the past few years to more firmly address the root causes of food insecurity, poverty, under-employment, and inequality while continuing to attract aid and foreign investment.
Zimbabwe is at risk from recurrent natural disasters and extreme weather events associated with climate change. These factors inevitably affect food production in the country. A viable response to climate change is widely regarded as an essential part of finding long-term solutions to food insecurity.
“Non-governmental organizations, professional bodies and representatives from industry have participated actively throughout the process and we would like to see this kind of close co-operation in the implementation of the strategy towards Zero Hunger,” said World Food Programme Regional Director for Southern Africa Chris Nikoi.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Review was undertaken by a research team under the leadership of The Vice Chancellor of the Women’s University in Africa Professor Hope Sadza.
Lead Expert Researcher Professor Hope Sadza recommended that there is need to create a Food and Nutrition Security Fund coordinated through the National Food and Nutrition Security Task Force, to promote infrastructure development, to rehabilitate dilapidated silos which can no longer store grain over time and to involve the private sector in addressing Zero Hunger issues in the count