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Govt Provides $1 Million for Drought Relief, But None of It Will Buy Food

FILE: Women queue for food assistance distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme in Mwenezi, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Harare, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Sept. 9 2015.

The government says treasury has released one million dollars to finance the distribution of grain as the food situation continues to deteriorate in Zimbabwe.

Public Service Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, told the state controlled Herald newspaper that by next week villagers would be feeling the impact of the funds.

“This means that by next week things should start moving smoothly in the distribution of grain to our people who need of food assistance,” she told the daily.

With a weekly demand of 30,000 tonnes of the staple maize, Zimbabwe is said to be having grain to only last four months.

Mupfumira said there was a shortage of transport as well as bags to send the maize to the people and the money is expected to address those problems.

Of the money, $600,000 is expected to be used for transport and other logistics while the remainder has been earmarked for sacks.

Studio 7 reached agronomist, Forbes Matonga who said though the money is not enough to cater for many people, it is a good start.

“It’s better than nothing, given that the government is struggling to have money for other things. So, if they are able at least to set aside a million dollars that’s a good effort but it would definitely require other players to augment that,” he said.

He said if the government indicates that "we need at least two million metric tonnes to feed the nation then it means it is quite significant.

“So you will find that many people are saying we need to change our eating habits. It is not only maize that is food,” said Matonga.

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