Thousands of villagers in some parts of Masvingo province that have been hit hard by the drought are being forced to sell off priced livestock to feed their families as hunger stalks the drought-prone region.
Villagers, who spoke with Studio 7, said they have no other means to survive but to sell livestock to feed their families. This follows poor rains that were received in the drought-prone province as well as some parts of the country.
Mr. Aron Edias of Rashai village under Chief Charumbira said everywhere he goes in the region, hunger and starvation are staring poor villagers right into their faces.
“Right now we have a big problem, we were supposed to reap good harvests and our crops had reached tasseling stage but they dried up. People are struggling and they are now surviving on anything. They are now exchanging anything from cattle and goats, even meat offals (for food),” said Mr. Edias.
Another villager from Muguti village in Chivi, Ms. Lilian Gumbo under Chief Madyangove, said the situation is getting dire for most families, especially as the government and non-governmental organizations have not yet started assisting them with food aid.
She noted that with many people being laid off in the city, most villagers have no source of income and are struggling to buy the staple maize in local shops which are selling at exorbitant prices due to demand in the face of mounting food shortages.
Other villagers said they fear that lives could be lost in the province if the government and well-wishers do not intervene on time, especially to assist child-headed households and grandmothers looking after AIDS orphans.
They added that many children have since dropped out of school due to economic hardships.
They believe that the number may increase come next week when schools open for the third and final term of the year.
The World Food Programme recently announced that about 1,5 million Zimbabweans need urgent food aid due to severe food shortages.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister, Ms. Shuvai Mahofa, declined to comment but she told Zanu PF supporters at a meeting in Chivi district over the weekend that the government is finalizing logistics to distribute food aid to people in the province.
Mahofa told the gathering that her administration would prioritize hard-hit areas like Chivi and Mwenezi districts.