WFP says it needs 1.1 million food aid

HARARE – The World Food Program (WFP) warned that 1.1 million Zimbabweans needed food aid before the next harvest in 2019, with small farmers in rural areas being at the greatest risk of food shortages.

The growing food prices and the country's miserable economic situation may also affect those living in urban areas, the United Nations Food Agency added.

"WFP plans to tackle the most urgent food safety needs of 1 135 500 people during the peak of the 2018-1919 season," said Ashley Baxstrom, spokesman for Zimbabwe, in a statement.

"Vulnerable groups are always disproportionately affected by unfavorable conditions (and) shocks."

The WFP said that $ 71.2 million would be needed for the planned response, with $ 22 million already raised – largely from the United States Agency for International Development.

The warning issued by the WFP follows a report from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network which states that poor families in dry areas of Zimbabwe hardly have any food left.

"These food safety results are expected to continue until March 2019," the network said on its website.

The condition of the cattle also worsened throughout the country due to water shortages and poor grassland, it added.

Zimbabwe is fighting against an economic crisis that is accompanied by cash shortages, high unemployment and a lack of investment, which has increased the cost of imported food.

Newly-inaugurated President Emmerson Mnangagwa has sworn to restore the country's economy after being sworn in last week after the election, the results of which were contested by the main opposition party.

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