WFP Scales Up Post-Harvest Season Food Assistance

WFP Country Rep Eddie Rowe

THE World Food Program (WFP) says it is already ramping up food aid for both rural and urban citizens beyond the harvest season amidst indications of an impending poor harvest at the back poor rains and a prolonged dry spell which characterised the early stages of the 2019-2020 agricultural season.

By Michael Gwarisa

In an interview with HealthTimes on the side-lines of the handover of a US$200 000 food assistance facility for Tongoragara refugees, WFP Country Representative, Mr Eddie Rowe said they started preparing for the post-harvest period back in July soon after the release of the 2018-2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) survey results.

We are looking now at what happens after the harvest because there are also indications that this particular rainy season has not been satisfactory and there is concern that we might face yet another failed harvest which could mean that we might have quite a number of people who would have to be assisted even after the harvest period.

“That’s our planning scenario moving forward beyond April. As you know in Zimbabwe, you have one agricultural season and if you miss that, then you would need assistance up to the next harvest in April, 2021. So that’s something which are grappling with and we have started our analysis,” said Mr Rowe.

He added that there is currently a rapid assessment happening which would guide the WFP in making a real time assessment of the food situation in the country as well as guide them in their planning beyond April.

“We have started preparing and that was one of the strong strategies we used to engage with our donors to say that at the peak of this hunger season which is January up to April, we expect the food security crisis to deteriorate and lo and behold, we are now faced with an unprecedented number of food insecure people in Zimbabwe.

“We set ourselves a planning target to reach about 4.1 million people in December, we reached about 1.5 million, in January 2.7, million and this month we expect to reach about 3.6 million people. Again funding constraints would not allow us to reach 4.1 million but what we have seen and I am very pleased to say is that there are other small players who are also joining forces including the government Food Deficit Mitigation (FDM) program.”

Meanwhile, Mr Rowe expressed concern over the increased number of urban people who might need food assistance and called on all stakeholders to scale up interventions to ensure everyone is well fed across the board.

“We started receiving indicators of deteriorating food security levels among urban residents so last year, we started working on a pilot in Epworth and based on the results from the ZIMVAC, it was clear that there were quite a number of people from different urban areas that are severely food insecure.

“Luckily, we had a donor who provided resources. Last month and this month, we are reaching about a 100 000 people in eight urban domains and we are looking forward to scaling that up provided that we receive additional resources but there is no doubt that this is a new phenomenon that we are very much concerned about.”









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