THE United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Zimbabwean government on Monday jointly launched a US$253 million five-year plan to build resilience, end hunger and boost nutrition in Zimbabwe.
The country strategic plan, running from 2017-2021, will see the WFP moving away from short-term food assistance to longer-term technical assistance in Zimbabwe, WFP Zimbabwe representative and country director Eddie Rowe told reporters at the launch.
“While maintaining strong humanitarian assistance, the WFP Zimbabwe’s new country strategic plan focuses on supporting longer-term national social protection and resilience efforts, strengthening the systems and institutions needed to help achieve zero hunger,” Rowe said.
He said 53 million dollars of the total budget was earmarked for 2017.
The five-year plan, Rowe said, was based on the findings of the 2015 zero hunger strategic review which identified several factors as the root causes of hunger in Zimbabwe.
Some of the factors are recurrent climate-related disasters, poverty, poor access to water, fragile economic environment, liquidity challenges, low agricultural productivity, limited access to markets and HIV and AIDS.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli commended the WFP for its efforts in helping Zimbabwe to eradicate hunger, and called for greater collaboration among development partners to help Zimbabwe meet Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the WFP, 63 percent of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line while 27 percent of children have stunted growth.
About four million people out of the of the country’s 14 million population were food insecure at the peak of the hunger season in January 2017, the UN agency said.
Against this background, the WFP said it would help Zimbabwe to eradicate hunger and improve nutrition through capacitating food insecure people and increasing small holder farmers’ access to well-functioning agricultural markets, among other measures. –