Zimbabwe’s Drought Crisis: Farmers Demand Budget Revision

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe is facing a severe drought that threatens the livelihoods of millions of farmers and the food security of the country. The Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) has called for an urgent revision of the 2024 national budget to allocate more funds for drought mitigation and relief.

The ZFU said that the current budget allocation of $2.4 billion Zimbabwean dollars ($6.8 million US dollars) for agriculture was inadequate and unrealistic, given the magnitude of the drought and the rising costs of inputs and services. The ZFU also urged the government to expedite the disbursement of funds and inputs to farmers, especially those in the most affected regions.

The ZFU president, Mr. Abdul Nyathi, said that the drought had reduced crop yields by more than 50% and caused widespread livestock deaths. He said that many farmers were struggling to repay their loans and meet their basic needs. He appealed to the government and other stakeholders to provide timely and adequate support to the farmers.

“The situation is dire and we need urgent intervention. We are appealing to the government to revise the budget and increase the allocation for agriculture. We also need more support from the donors, the private sector, and the civil society. We cannot afford to lose our farmers and our food production,” he said.

The drought In Zimbabwe is part of a larger climate crisis that has affected many parts of Southern Africa. According to the United Nations, more than 45 million people in the region are facing acute food insecurity due to erratic rainfall, floods, and cyclones. The UN has launched a humanitarian appeal of $1.1 billion to assist the affected countries.

Zimbabwe has also been grappling with economic and political challenges that have worsened the situation of the farmers and the general population. The country has experienced hyperinflation, currency instability, fuel shortages, power cuts, and human rights violations. The government has been accused of mismanaging the economy and cracking down on dissent.

Despite the hardships, many farmers in Zimbabwe have shown resilience and innovation in coping with the drought. Some have adopted drought-tolerant crops, water harvesting techniques, and conservation agriculture practices. Others have diversified their income sources by engaging in small businesses, crafts, and beekeeping.

The ZFU said that it was committed to working with the government and other partners to find lasting solutions to the drought and other challenges facing the farmers. It said that it hoped that the budget revision would be done soon and that the farmers would receive the support they deserved.

“We are hopeful that the government will listen to our plea and act accordingly. We are also grateful to all those who have been helping us in this difficult time. We believe that together we can overcome this drought and build a better future for our farmers and our nation,” Mr. Nyathi said.


Source: New Zimbabwe

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