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Weak agriculture finance feeds malnutrition in Zimbabwe

SUCCESSIVE poor harvests have diminished Ndodana Makhalima’s household food stocks and the family’s nutrition status.

The country’s rural-based subsistence farmers are facing a myriad of challenges with the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) warning of another drought during the 2015/16 season, which could further compromise already dire nutritional needs in a country where the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says millions will require food assistance.

But it is the financing of the sector, once a major contributor to the country’s GDP, that has further dwindled hopes for relief for Makhalima and millions of other rural farmers.

Zimbabwe requires millions of dollars to fund irrigation schemes dotted across the country and while the climate ministry and the meteorological services department announced a cloud seeding exercise in October to boost rainfall, this is yet to take off.

The meteorological office also announced it would be buying an aeroplane for cloud seeding, but the department has previously complained of financial constraints that have affected its operations. It is not clear where financing for the aircraft will come from. Experts however say cloud seeding can be done when there are particular clouds that favour the exercise.

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Ignatius Banda I IPS
Friday, March 11, 2016
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