Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More than a million still hungry in Zimbabwe

A new report authored by a couple of United Nations organizations says that Zimbabwe still has 1.6 million people in need of food assistance. The many people who are food insecure come despite the fact that maize production doubled in the country last year.

The authors of the report conclude that more must be done to support Zimbabwe's food production. Agriculture in Zimbabwe is already supported by a 70 million dollar international aid program that gives farmers better seeds and fertilizer.

From the South African Times Live, this AFP article gives us more details of the study.

The area planted under maize, Zimbabwe's main staple, increased by 20 per cent in 2010 to the highest level in 30 years and production rose seven per cent over 2009, the mission found.

Compared with the poor 2008 season when less than 500,000 tons of maize was harvested, production more than doubled in 2009 and 2010 to 1.27 and 1.35 million tons respectively.

"The generous international support ... significantly contributed to this year's relatively good harvest results, even if in some areas of the country rainfall distribution was uneven," said FAO's emergency and rehabilitation operations in Africa chief, Cristina Amaral.

The report said that general poverty and chronic food insecurity had led to reduced diversity of consumption and had also contributed to an increased prevalence of chronic malnutrition among young children.

Prices remain comparatively high for families with low incomes and little or no access to US dollars or South African rand according to the WFP's Jan Delbaere, co-author of the report.

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