Agricultural experts and food officials say maize crops in the Zimbabwean provinces of Matabeleland South and North, Masvingo and portions of Midlands must be written off due to insufficient rains in the past month or so with the harvest period coming up fast.
Maize fields in particular have been reduced to dust bowls in such areas, dashing hopes of generous harvests. The last significant rains there were recorded early this year.
Relief agencies have started systematically assessing the crop situation and will soon issue a comprehensive report on the resumption of food assistance programs.
Gwanda North Member of Parliament Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla said relief agencies should start food distribution to affected areas. “Most subsistence farmers in these regions are facing hunger as their crops have failed due to inadequate rains,” Mnkandla said.
Relief worker Faith Ncube said some non-governmental organizations are assessing the food situation in drought-hit regions. “We hope that these organizations will come up with a comprehensive food distribution program which will cater for millions of people in Matabeleland, Masvingo and Midlands provinces,” Ncube said.