Drought | Zimbabwe declares state of disaster

(Harare) The president of Zimbabwe declared a state of national disaster on Wednesday, as the southern African country is in the grip of a severe drought linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which has brought back the specter of hunger for millions of people. people.


Zimbabwe is the third country in southern Africa to declare a state of natural disaster, after Malawi and Zambia, linked to drought.

“I am declaring a state of national disaster due to the El Niño-related drought,” Emmerson Mnangagwa said at a press conference. This measure mainly makes it possible to release exceptional resources to deal with the crisis.

“No Zimbabwean must succumb to hunger,” the president continued. More than 2.7 million people will lack food due to poor rains and cereal harvests are only expected to feed just over half the population, the head of state warned.

Unable to obtain supplies from traditional suppliers in Zambia and Malawi, Zimbabwean millers have also imported GMO corn from South Africa.

But Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi, a climate and agriculture expert at South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal, stressed that South Africa had only a limited surplus to export to its neighbors.

“The importation of maize also means (in Zimbabwe, editor’s note) an increase in food prices, which will have an impact on the food security of poor populations, who already have difficulty affording a healthy diet,” he said. he declared.

In March, Zimbabwean small farmers in affected areas said they were already struggling to feed their families after their crops failed and food prices soared.

PHOTO TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI, ASSOCIATED PRESS

More than 2.7 million people will lack food due to poor rains and cereal harvests are only expected to feed just over half the population, the head of state warned.

Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector was severely weakened by the land reform launched by Robert Mugabe after independence, with the ousting of thousands of white farmers to redistribute land to under-equipped and insufficiently trained black farmers.

The government is now encouraging farmers to reorient crops towards more resistant cereals such as sorghum and is counting on the construction of two dams launched in 2018 in the Kanyemba region but which has fallen behind schedule with COVID-19.

In early March, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned that generally dry weather conditions in early 2024 in southern Africa associated with the El Niño weather phenomenon “are expected to worsen food insecurity”.

Major growing areas in Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe “received only 80% of average rainfall between mid-November 2023 and February 2024”, the summer period in the Southern Hemisphere, a underlined the FAO.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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