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WFP commits US$12m to help vulnerable families in Zim

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LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

The World Food Programme (WFP) has committed US$12m to help Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable families at the height of the country’s food-insecure lean period.

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The lean season runs from October to March, with January serving as its peak.

 

The commitment was, however, a major decrease from the US$40m resource pool made last year as a result of higher yields during the previous growing season.

 

Speaking to Business Times on the sidelines of the 2023 World Food Day joint celebrations at Bwerudza Irrigation Scheme in Chipinge, WFP representative and country director Francesca Erdelmann said: “We have around US$12m for this coming lean season, a drop from US$40m (we availed) last October due to good harvests.

“We usually would wait for the season to evolve then we take the stock of the most affected then we take action accordingly. But this year we would like to take action during the time when the El Nino is expected to occur, which is called anticipatory action.”

According to Erdelmann, the anticipated El Niño season serves as a reminder of the communities’ struggles, which go far beyond low crop yields and food insecurity to actually endanger lives.

 

Women and young girls ,she said bear a disproportionate share of the burden of collecting water and spend many hours  travelling  long distances.

 

“To mitigate these challenges, we are actively working on plans that will reduce the impact of El Niño. Our commitment to helping vulnerable communities remains unwavering, and together with the government, donors and partners, we will face these challenges head-on,” she said.

“Through our El Niño Impact Mitigation and Anticipatory Action Approach, we will support communities to safeguard and strengthen access to water, enhance climate-smart agricultural practices and strengthen delivery and use of climate services. Many of these assets, such as solarised boreholes, reserve water tanks, drip irrigation systems, and micro-jet irrigated nurseries, are water-related, as water availability remains crucial for the livelihood activities of rural communities.”

Additionally, in coordination with and as a supplement to the national Pfumvudza program, WFP will provide drought-tolerant seeds and the associated fertilizers to support selected communities.

 

In collaboration with its partners, the UN agency aims to make communities more resilient to current and future climate-related impacts.

 

“Our partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation ensures that jointly we can achieve greater coverage and impact than any of us could do by ourselves. Since the beginning of our operations in Zimbabwe, WFP continues to work in very close partnership with the government of Zimbabwe,” Erdelmann said.

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