December 15, 2022

Mwenezi farmers living in fear

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Mirirai Nsingo in Mwenezi

For 42-year-old Future Chipepo, the threat of food insecurity is imminent.

The mother-of-six from Neshuro, Mwenezi district in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Province is wary of this year’s hot weather.

A subsistence farmer, who has been surviving on farming small grains, has not been spared by the vagaries of climate change.

“As you can see, my crops are yet to germinate yet we are already in December. In the previous years, by now crops would have been showing life already.

“It’s a different year, it is so hot and I doubt my crops will yield anything. This is the worst season for me, I just don’t know how we are going to survive,” she says.

Future is not alone in this predicament as 38 percent of rural households were protected to be cereal insecure at the peak of the lean season according to the ZimVac 2022 report

Zimbabwe is experiencing food insecurity, with 5.6 out of 16.6 million people (33%) having insufficient food consumption.

In response to Future’s predicament and many others the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society with the support from the International Federation of Red Cross is implementing a Hunger Crisis Response project in Mwenezi district which is set to benefit over 4 000 people through a cash transfer programme.

“The Zero Hunger programme is part of the IFRC and ZRCS’s urgent and massive action to scale up life-saving assistance to millions of people facing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity in Zimbabwe,” said ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga.

ZRCS team during the selection process for the cash transfer programme

“At the same time, through longer-term programming, the ZRCS will address the root causes of food insecurity while building upon its previous successes and work in support of government plans and frameworks in building the resilience of the most impoverished communities.”

The Hunger Crisis Programme is anticipated to be implemented in other districts which include Buhera and Chiredzi.

Acting district development coordinator for Mwenezi Iceben Masiiwa said the area was the most affected by climate change and welcomed the ZRCS intervention.

“We appreciate this support to alleviate the food insecurity challenges in this district, one of the most affected in the country.

“The government with support from various partners is already working on a programme to reduce the hunger threat in this area.

“Climate change is real and with various stakeholders we are working with communities to adapt to new farming practices,” he said.

Hwenga said the Mwenezi project was anchored on three major pillars, which are food security and livelihoods, health and nutrition as well as water, sanitation and hygiene to ensure that vulnerability for people like Future is reduced.

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