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Fears Food Situation May Deteriorate Following Disputed Polls

There are fears that the hunger situation in Zimbabwe may deteriorate following reports by the World Food Programme last week that around 2.2 million people will need food assistance by October.

Some donor countries that have contributed to humanitarian calls previously are currently at odds with Harare following the disputed July elections, a move some think may affect any calls for food aid.

But some analysts say food and politics should be kept separate.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail reported the government has ordered the Grain Marketing Board to distribute more than 10,000 metric tonnes of maize from the country’s Strategic Grain Reserve to five provinces that are facing food shortages.

The newspaper quotes outgoing Agriculture Minister Joseph Made as saying the distribution should commence this week.

A team from the GMB has been sent to Zambia to take delivery of part of the 150,000 metric tonnes of maize, which is part of a grain deal the two countries signed early this year, according to Made.

“Government is continuing to import maize from Zambia under a government-to-government arrangement where we purchased 150 000 metric tonnes of maize," said Made.

“We are yet to take full delivery of all the maize since it is being delivered in batches. As we speak we already have a team from the GMB who are loading the grain in Zambia and we expect them to conclude anytime soon."

Some experts feel government efforts alone will not be enough to help the huge number of people needing food aid resulting in the fear that some communities may suffer as a result.

Others feel the goodwill experienced by the unity government in terms of humanitarian experience may not be the same resulting in food aid shortages.

But Christian Care executive director Reverend Stanslous Chatikobo tells VOA the fears are unfounded.

“Drought hasn’t started this year. It was there since 1980 and we have always been receiving assistance even if it was one government being in power, and I don’t see any changes that are going to come,” he said.
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