FORMER Zhombe MP Roger Tazviona has said people in the constituency would need food aid following massive crop failure owing to the premature end of the rainy season.
Tazviona told our sister paper NewsDay that most families in the constituency failed to access farming inputs on time and as a result failed to plant using the early rains.
“We have a few farmers who managed to have a good crop, but most of them will not harvest anything because by the time the rains stopped, most of the crop had not reached maturity and wilted under the Midlands heat,” said Tazviona.
According to international food agencies, over 1,2 million Zimbabweans would need food aid this year alone despite pronouncements by the government that the country is poised for a bumper harvest.
Godumunthu Phiri, a Zhombe farmer, said he was now looking to the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to come to his aid after he put all his investments into the wilted crop.
“I was hoping to recover my money after selling my crops on the market so I used over $500 in fertilisers and draught power only to harvest nothing,” he said.
Villagers are faced with the prospect of selling their livestock to purchase mealie-meal which goes for $8 for a 10kg bag in rural shops.
In 2010, Zhombe and Silobela villagers were forced to barter a single beast for four buckets of maize as hunger reached alarming levels.
Former Silobela MP Anadu Silulu at that time made spirited appeals to the Grain Marketing Board to move maize into his constituency to save the hungry who were now feeding on roots and wild fruits.