Food crisis ravages the world, Zim not spared

Food crisis ravages the world, Zim not spared

By Caroline Chiimba

Zimbabwe has been added to the list of countries with hunger hotspots as food insecurity is expected to worsen over the next six months, the World Food Programme WFP revealed.

This comes two months after the World Bank announced its action plan to take as part of a comprehensive global response to the ongoing food security crisis, with up to $30 billion in existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation.

According to FAO and WFP recent report, ripple effects of the war in Ukraine have been echoing globally against the backdrop of a gradual and uneven economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, steadily increasing food and energy prices, and deteriorating macroeconomic conditions.

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“The number of undernourished people globally could increase by between 7.6 and 13.1 million people in 2022/23 as a result of the ripple effects of the conflict,” read the report.

The projections on the transmission of global food and oil price spikes – caused by disrupted supplies from the Russian Federation and Ukraine – on domestic food inflation, show that the number of acute food insecure people could increase by 47 million in 2022, with largest increases in sub-Sahara Africa.

“Zimbabwe is a new country with hunger hotspots. Rainfall deficits throughout the season have cut the 2022 cereal production below average and have caused permanent crop wilting in four provinces. Persistently high inflation rates, low availability of maize, a staple food, and the continuation of the war in Ukraine could further exacerbate the food shortages and increase food prices as 2,9 million people were already food insecure in the first months of 2022,” WFP revealed.

In its weekly review, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) added that contributing factors include an erratic rainfall season resulting in a significant drop in expected maize production (which declined by 43% as compared to last year and communal farmers yields have shrunk by half) combined with the effects of persistently high inflation.

“Low-productivity agricultural practices and lack of access to markets are also contributing to the food security crisis affecting the vast majority of rural Zimbabweans whose livelihoods depend on rain-fed agricultural production,” Zimcodd said.

“For those in urban areas, hyperinflation, lack of purchasing power and the pricing of basic commodities solely in US$, has contributed to food insecurity. The hunger crisis affects vulnerable and marginalized people the most as they have limited capacity to absorb additional shocks.

“In order to alleviate food shortages and achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on ending hunger, there must be adequate funding lent towards responding to the short, medium, and long-term impacts of the food security crisis.”


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