With more than 2.2 million people in need of food aid, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says Zimbabwe needs to address food insecurity in a comprehensive manner, including proper planning by both the public and private sectors.
David Mfote, Assistant FAO Program Representative of the Zimbabwe Country Office, told a discussion on World Food Day hosted by the United States Public Affairs Section that food insecurity levels in Zimbabwe are very high.
Mfote said Zimbabwe faces serious challenges in trying to address such food insecurity.
He added that lack of robust extension services, lack of credit and the high cost of inputs were hampering the country’s efforts to address food insecurity.
Mfote noted that Zimbabwe could do better by reviving its irrigation schemes which were financed by international institutions that are no longer lending money to Zimbabwe.
According to Mfote, Zimbabwe has a potential to produce 1.6 million tonnes of maize yet it is only producing about 800,000 tonnes which is not enough to meet its national demand.
USAID Food Security Specialist, Fanuel Cumanzala, also told the same gathering that his organisation has since 2002 spent more than $2 billion assisting small holder farmers under various programs which include community gardens and dam construction.
At the same time, the World Food Program has started mobilizing resources to feed more than 2.2 million people while government is importing maize from neighbouring Zambia to avoid starvation.