USAID/UN Predict "Widespead Food Shortages" For Zimbabwe



Families in rural Masvingo, Zimbabwe ancient and famous city of the Great Zimbabwe, are seen here sweeping up maize (corn) spilled by trucks ferrying aid from South Africa in December. It's encore this year, apparently, with USAID and FAO predicting "widespread shortages" going into 2010.


The United Stated Aid Agency, USAID, warns of widespread food shortages in Zimbabwe this season in a just published.

The reports are corroborated by the United Nations, with FAO estimating a deficit in cereals for 2009/2010 of about 180 000 metric tonnes. Says the USAID situation report:

"Although food security in Zimbabwe has improved in 2009, relief agencies predict the need for a large-scale food assistance programme starting in August or September, when food stores from the April 2009 harvest will likely be exhausted."
Already, the reports are receiving short shrift from members of the Inclusive government, who accuse the NGO of trying to justify their existence and "expense accounts" by inflating figures.

If anything, FAO and the World Food Programme are known for underestimating the severity of these thing. For the 2008/2009 season, it turned out FAO had underestimated the number of people needing food aid by almost 2 million!

Of course, we have to take into account the fact that, especially in the rural areas, which are usually the hardest hit, identification of people needing aid is done mostly through ZANU PF structures.

Even where the chief is of the area is active in the selection, ZANU PF rears its head. I saw this for myself last year in Murehwa, where locals knew that if they were identified as anti-ZANU PF, the chief would be told to leave them out of the list of names submitted to aid agencies.

Most times, local officials will claim a "tithe" from those they recommend.which tithe they then sell in urban areas.

This time round, they will not be able to sell to urban dwellers, though, because, unlike last year, the shops are absolutely brimming with foodstuffs.

They will almost certainly end up selling the grain as feed for livestock to farmers who will also be hard hit by the shortage.

What sickening though, is that this is happening while the Inclusive Government of Mugabe and Tsvangirai spends US$11 million on foreign travel, US$5 million on car hire and US$8 million on top of that just for cars for the useless COMESA Summit, which has brought us no benefit whatsoever except the Chairmanship of Mugabe.

Priorities?

This government has them wrong.

You can read a more detailed report of the whole thing here

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