Zimbabwe Government Launches ZWL$11 Billion Food Aid Program

Major Initiative to Alleviate Hunger and Food Shortages Across Zimbabwe

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
Zimbabwe food aid program

The Zimbabwean government has introduced a ZWL$11 billion food aid program to address hunger-related challenges in vulnerable areas across the country. This significant initiative, valued at approximately US$1.1 million, aims to prevent hunger-related fatalities and support households facing food shortages.

Public Service Deputy Minister Mercy Dinha unveiled this crucial program during a parliamentary session on Wednesday. Lawmakers sought information regarding the government’s efforts to assist households affected by drought, prompting the announcement.

Dinha explained that the distribution of aid would commence in the coming weeks as funding for the program had been secured. She emphasized the government’s commitment to addressing food insecurity, stating, “Treasury has now availed ZWL$11 billion for the program to start. So we are starting with the registration of the beneficiaries to enable us to distribute.”

The aid will primarily consist of grain distributions, providing essential sustenance to those in need. Government officials in various provinces have already initiated the registration process, laying the groundwork for the efficient distribution of maize to eligible recipients.

Importantly, the allocated funds will also cover transportation costs, a significant aspect that has previously hindered the effective distribution of aid. Dinha highlighted this development, stating, “Now that we have received ZWL$11 billion from the Treasury, we are now able to pay transporters to get the maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots near the people so that it can be distributed to them.”

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Leader of Government Business in Parliament, underscored the government’s ongoing commitment to addressing food security. He stressed that the government’s approach extends beyond mere food distribution, incorporating initiatives such as Pfumvudza and Intwasa inputs aimed at supporting sustainable agricultural practices. Ziyambi emphasized that close monitoring of input utilization by recipients would be conducted, with assistance from agriculture extension officers.

Earlier this week, officials from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) revealed that the nation’s grain supply was sufficient for only four more months. This revelation came despite the government’s previous claims in December that grain stocks would last until October of the current year.

The situation has been compounded by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which has caused unseasonable and excessive rainfall during the current farming season. Humanitarian agencies have expressed concerns, warning that millions of Zimbabweans may require food aid due to these challenging weather conditions.

The government’s ZWL$11 billion food aid program represents a critical step in addressing the immediate food security needs of vulnerable populations across the nation. It demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that no Zimbabwean goes hungry and reflects a comprehensive approach that includes both food distribution and support for sustainable agricultural practices.

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