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Zimbabwe NGOs Hope Pretoria Talks Focus On Humanitarian Needs

As Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition came to the negotiating table Thursday in Pretoria to to grapple with the vexed question of power-sharing, non-governmental organizations at home voiced the hope that the negotiators might first stipulate the lifting of a ban imposed by the Harare government in June on NGO distribution of food and other humanitarian aid.

United Nations food agencies are targeting some 300,000 Zimbabweans for food aid but are now reaching only about half that number, a WFP spokesman told VOA recently, mainly due to government restrictions on NGO distribution partners in the country. The U.N. says the number of Zimbabweans needing food aid could soar to 5 million by early next year.

The government through the central bank, recently started distributing food hampers under a so-called Basic Commodities Supply Enhancement Initiative, also referrred to as Bacossi.

However, National Director Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a leading WFP implementing partner in the country, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that program lacks the scope to relieve all of the hungry in urban and rural areas

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...