January 18, 2021
By Janice Biehn
In Zimbabwe, decreased rainfall, poor harvests, reduced opportunities to earn an income due to COVID-19 restrictions and high food prices are adding up to acute food insecurity in 35% of the population.
In response, PWRDF is currently supporting an emergency food relief project, starting January 25 running through to the end of March. Working with DanChurchAid Zimbabwe (DCA), PWRDF was able to leverage $161,554 from its equity in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and receive a match from the Government of Canada. The total project budgeted is $843,948.
If it weren’t for emergency humanitarian food assistance programs like this one, more families would likely be worse off, says the IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis for October 2020 – March 2021.
This intervention is targeting the worst affected seven rural wards of Lupane district in Matabeleland North Province. These wards have a combined population of approximately 44,590 people in 8,918 households.
The intervention is providing emergency food assistance to 3,600 food insecure households (18,000 individuals). Food rations include:
- 10 kg of maize meal
- 1.5 kg of bean
- 0.75 litre of cooking oil per person per month
The most vulnerable households are prioritized for food assistance including those headed by children, elderly and women and to families with special needs (e.g. disabled people, chronically ill people, and pregnant and lactating women).
A one-time distribution of fast-maturing sorghum and cowpea seed will help re-establish crop production in 1,450 households, and ensure access to food staples when the assistance ends. The crops will be ready to harvest in April. The program will select and train 140 lead farmers, who will then share their knowledge and skills with other farmers in their neighbourhood.
DCA Zimbabwe works with Agritex (government agriculture extension department) to support the farmers on soil and water conservation techniques and also to train them save seeds for future crops.
A sharp rise in COVID-19 infections in early December is being met with a hard lockdown for one month. All but essential services have been closed – including the informal markets where most Zimbabweans shop or trade. The lockdown is making it harder for people to sell their food at markets, to buy food or to travel for work to South Africa, which has shut all its land borders in an effort to curb rising numbers.