Scores of Masvingo residents are struggling to make ends meet and have cut the number of normal meals per day due to lack of income to buy food as a family of six living in an urban area now needs $500 per month.
Some residents say they have since cut their meals from three to two a day due to lack of money.
One of the affected people is Enderance Takaedza of Majange high density suburb, who says they are living from hand to mouth.
“ It’s now difficult to live in town, we delay to have tea and have it in the afternoon and we have our second meal in the evening,” says Takaedza.
Another resident, Joyce Chiwara, says her family is surviving on less than $2 a day.
Chiwara says she used to generate money through selling various goods on the streets of Masvingo, which was blocked by the city council following a directive from the government ordering people to stop selling wares without permission from local authorities.
“I cannot afford to buy food for more than $2, this is because of the shrinking economy. I can’t afford to pay fees for my children, health and water bills because I only get a $1 a day,” says Chiwara.
Most residents say they are failing to get jobs due to the current harsh economic situation in Zimbabwe.
Poverty Eradication Forum Trust (PEFT), a Harare-based non-governmental organization, says it carried a survey in Masvingo which revealed that 80 percent of local people cannot afford to buy adequate food for their families.
PEFT Programmes Coordinator, Tafara Cheremba, says urban poverty has reached alarming proportions in most cities and towns.
“Poverty is going up. There is a challenge of getting the income to buy basic needs,” she says.
Local people say government should find a solution to the country’s economic woes before the situation gets out of hand.