European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme on Tuesday said sanctions, which were imposed on the African nation, had nothing to do with poverty stalking parts of Matabeleland.
Speaking on the sidelines of a handover ceremony of the Lead Trust projects to the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development ministry at Sobendle village in Lupane, Van Damme said a fragile climatic environment was affecting Matabeleland.
“We must not blame the sanctions for the poverty in the region,” he said.
“This region is affected by a fragile environment (climate) and we will focus on these areas to reduce poverty.”
Van Damme advised people of the region to engage in livestock rearing as it was the most productive agricultural activity.
“In this region, livestock is really important and we will support livestock production,” he continued.
Van Damme urged women to practise poultry so as to improve their livelihoods, advising locals to exchange experiences so as to better their lives.
He added that the EU would continue assisting the government in improving the health sector in the region and other areas.
“We visited some hospitals in the country and we have engaged the government in improving the health sector and other economic sectors,” the new envoy said.
“We will work together in improving the livelihoods of the people so as to reduce poverty.”
The EU handed over a conservation in agriculture project, which was implemented by Lead Trust.
The project is set to benefit 28 000 households in Lupane, Nkayi and Hurungwe.