VILLAGERS in Binga are on the verge of starvation as food is increasingly becoming scarce in the district, amid reports in some areas they were surviving on a wild fruit called busika, botanically known as tamarind indica.
Busika is a leguminous plant indigenous to tropical Africa. To make matters worse, elephants are said to have destroyed some community gardens in the district and calls for food aid were becoming loud.
Binga Ward 4 councillor Elmon Mudenda yesterday confirmed the plight of villagers in the district.
“There is nothing at the moment in most wards except Kabuba, Sinamagonde and Dobola,” he said.
“In my ward (Sinamasengwe) it’s even worse. People are starving. They need food aid.
“In most areas people are surviving on a wild fruit called busika. We had gardens with fruits, but recently elephants destroyed everything.”
He said a few lucky villagers got help from a non-governmental organisation through the food for work programme, but the majority were in dire straits.
“There was a food for work programme by Lead Trust which ended last month,” he explained.
“It assisted very much as people got money to buy food, but it’s now back to wild fruits.
“However, some villagers were not covered by the programme.”
Binga is one of the most drought-prone districts in the country and villagers are forced to resort to selling their livestock for a song to buy food. Reports were that some hawks were taking advantage of the situation to rip off the desperate villagers.