THE country has this year reduced the prevalence of food insecurity by 29 percent compared to the previous year, marking a significant stride towards achieving one of Government’s goals in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) of ensuring a food surplus economy.
The latest development also reflects Government’s ability to reduce the problem by over 50 percent compared to the previous season.
Nutrition has improved across the country with 99 percent of people having gone without experiencing food insufficiency. The prevailing price stability has also improved access to basic commodities.
This is according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) 2021 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report, which Cabinet approved yesterday following its presentation by the Vice-President and Minister of Health and Childcare Constantino Chiwenga in his capacity as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.
In her post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the reduction in the prevalence of food insecurity from 56 percent the last year to 27 percent this year is worth noting.
“This reflects Government’s ability to reduce the problem by over 50 percent compared to the previous season, hence the right step towards achieving one of the country’s goals in the NDS1, particularly of ensuring a food surplus economy,” she said.
“The 27 percent of rural households will translate into approximately 2 942 897 individuals requiring 262 856 metric tonnes of cereal (maize grain).”
Minister Mutsvangwa said a targeted movement of food from surplus areas to vulnerable areas will be undertaken since the country is generally expecting 828 263 tonnes of cereal surplus basing on the 2021 Second Round Crop Assessment Report.
“The findings further revealed that a well co-ordinated Government assistance programme to smallholder farmers buttressed by the ready availability of inputs on the market and normal to above-normal rainfall in most parts of the country, resulted in the country’s 2021 maize and traditional grains production increasing by over 147,5 percent compared to the 2020 harvest,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme recorded a significant adoption rate, with 52 percent of households practising it.
At least 56 percent of the sampled households have been trained within one year of its inception.
“The nation is informed that tangible achievements have been registered in the following programmes: crop diversification; Access to Agriculture Extension Services and Agricultural Markets; Agriculture Modernisation/Adoption of Improved Livestock Practices; Access to Rural Finances; Access to Rural Infrastructure and Services; non-farm and on-farm income sources; and social protection,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said BEAM supported 1,5 million learners out of the 4,5 million learners in school. BEAM’s coverage had been extended from tuition fees to include examination fees and stationery.
“The Committee further highlights the need to provide sanitary wear to the girl child so as to reduce the drop-outs of girls from school.
Cabinet noted that cattle and goats off-take remain suppressed in the smallholder farming sectors, and the majority of cattle and goats’ losses are due to diseases,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said Government will accelerate the setting up of irrigation schemes and ensure that communities have improved access to reliable sources of water for agricultural production.
Minister Mutsvangwa said it is anticipated that some urban dwellers may experience food insufficiency. She said Government is ready to provide the required support.
The minister said development partners and donor agencies should procure food from inside the country as imports will not be necessary.
She said the ZimVac 2021 Annual Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report will be publicised in all 16 official languages.
Cabinet also noted reports on the 7th 100 Day Cycle of the Second Republic which were presented by the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development; Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
Minister Mutsvangwa reported that six priority projects were earmarked for implementation during the current cycle. These include Chimanimani Digital Terrestrial Television launch, Gokwe Digital Terrestrial Television launch, Nyangani Community Radio Station installation, Language-based Community Radio Stations licensing; Radio Zimbabwe studio installation and National awareness audio-visual productions.
Cabinet was informed that site preparatory works for the Chimanimani Digital Terrestrial launch were completed and the launch thereof will be held at a later date.
“A pilot Digital Terrestrial Television service in Gokwe will be commissioned and launched. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is working with a target to install, commission and launch the Nyangani Community Radio station in Nyanga and site survey was completed,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said 95 percent of the equipment purchased was shipped and is now in Harare.
“Furthermore, the Baz is targeting to issue additional language-based Community Radio Station licences in an effort to improve access to information and the participation of local communities in information dissemination. The allotment plan has been gazetted,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“The nation is advised that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is modernising its old studios by revamping one of the Radio Zimbabwe Studios (Studio E) at Mbare Studios in Harare.”
Regarding the National awareness audio-visual productions, Cabinet was informed that the target is to produce 13 “Zimbabwe in Motion” television programmes profiling the developmental work of Government Ministries.
“The project is aimed at raising awareness about the work, challenges and successes of Government among television viewers. The creative concept was approved, with four programmes having been completed to date and are ready for airing on Zimbabwe Television (ZTV) anytime this month,” said Minister Mutsvangwa. — @mashnets