Britain is giving cash to 10 000 Zimbabweans in the southern part of the country through the World Food Programme to buy food, Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Anne-Marie Trevelyan said yesterday.
Responding to a question from Ruth Jones who wanted to know how many women and children needed food assistance in Zimbabwe, Trevelyan said the WFP estimated that 5.2 million people currently had insufficient food.
“Unfortunately, this data is not broken down by women and children,” she said.
“Zimbabwe is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world – droughts, floods and natural disasters mean many households are food insecure.
“The UK is providing targeted cash transfers to more than 10 000 highly food insecure people in Southern Zimbabwe via the WFP.
“We are working with the Government of Zimbabwe and other partners to coordinate response efforts and to shift the focus towards long-term resilience building – this includes improving agricultural techniques and investments we are making in climate-resilient irrigation and solar power in rural communities.”
Zimbabwe made headlines this week when President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was food self-sufficient largely because of its use of village wisdom that one must eat what one kills.
Mnangagwa was accused of misleading the world because the country had nearly four million people needing food assistance.
Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka, however, defended Mnangagwa insisting that the country had enough food.
He said people should appreciate the difference between household food sufficiency and the ability of the nation to be able to provide for those food deficit households.
“It is the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment committee which projected that 3.8 million Zimbabweans will require assistance from January to March, but for self-sufficiency at household level is what we are talking about, at national level we have sufficiency where we have 450 000 metric tonnes of cereals in our depots,” he told the Herald.
“We predicted that from January to March, the 3.8 million Zimbabweans would require 31 000 metric tonnes in terms of additional support, that is what we are availing. So Zimbabwe is food self-sufficient, we are food secure, this is the narrative. The narrative is not a household season food self-sufficiency, it is national food self-sufficiency for which we plan,” he said.