ZIMBABWE: More than a third of Zimbabweans require food assistance

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by nakedwally, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. nakedwally

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    source http://www.alertnet.org

    JOHANNESBURG , 5 June 2007 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's poor harvest "due to adverse weather conditions" and an economy wracked by hyperinflation will leave more than a third of the population requiring food assistance by early next year, a joint report released on Tuesday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said. Crop failures in the southern provinces and the rapid erosion of incomes caused by Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate of 3,714 percent - the world's highest - has escalated poverty in both rural and urban areas. The report said about "2.1 million people will face serious food shortages as early as the third quarter of 2007. The number of people at risk will peak at 4.1 million in the first three months of 2008 – more than a third of Zimbabwe's estimated population of 11.8 million." The actual percentage of Zimbabweans requiring food assistance could in reality be much higher, as millions of migrants are believed to have crossed into neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana, or further a field to the United States and Europe, in search of work. Some estimates have put the exodus of Zimbabweans at about four million, or more than a third of the population. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of about 80 percent. Richard Lee, the WFP's regional information officer based in Johannesburg, said he was aware of the reports about large-scale migration of people from Zimbabwe, but the report "had to concern itself" with the official figures gleaned from population growth data based on the country's 2002 census. The joint mission, which visited Zimbabwe from 25 April to the 18 May, said in their crop and food supply assessment report that about 352,000 metric tonnes (mt)of cereals and 90,000mt of other food assistance would be required to meet the country's basic food needs. "While drought devastated crops in many areas, Zimbabwe's overall production was also hampered by insufficient fertilizer, fuel and tractors and by the country's crumbling irrigation system," Henri Josserand, chief of FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System, said. "Most importantly, uneconomic prices set by the government have discouraged many farmers from producing surplus cereals for sale." The report said this year's April/May harvest had declined by 44 percent from last year's official estimate and put the crop estimate at "925,000mt of cereals, including 799,000mt of maize and 126,000mt of sorghum and millet." "Zimbabwe's looming food crisis is the result of another poor harvest, exacerbated by the country's unprecedented economic decline, extremely high unemployment, and the impact of HIV/AIDS," Amir Abdulla, WFP's Regional Director for Southern Africa, said. According to UNAIDS 20.1 percent of Zimbabweans between the ages of 15 and 49 years old are infected with HIV/AIDS. "Hyperinflation, currently over 3,700 percent per annum, and the ever plummeting Zimbabwe dollar have drastically reduced people's purchasing power, greatly limiting access to available food supplies for low and middle income people, particularly in urban areas," Kisan Gunjal, Joint CFSAM Mission Leader, said. Th report gave the "shocking" example of the effects of hyperinflation on the salary of a teacher, who earn US$10 a month, "when [the] transport cost to work alone can be a significant part of that [the salary]." The report's initial estimates were that about one million people in urban areas would face food shortages over the coming months and could require food assistance. The worst-affected provinces were Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, and Midlands, where many families had harvested nothing and could run out of food as early as next month. The cereal harvest in Manicaland and Masvingo was also about half of last year's output. The report said that "taking into consideration the forthcoming October wheat crop and current stocks ... domestic cereal availability is around 1.29 million tonnes against a total national utilization of 2.34 million tonnes – leaving over a million tonnes to be imported." The report said the government, which is suffering from chronic shortage of foreign currency, had already contracted for 400,000mt of maize from Malawi and was expected to import a further 239,000mt of wheat and rice. It also estimated that "61,000 tonnes of maize could to be brought into the country through informal cross-border trade and in-kind remittances, especially from South Africa – leaving a gap of 352,000mt of cereals to be met by food aid." It was acknowledged in the report that the government's fast track land reform programme launched in 2000, that redistributed commercial farmland owned by white farmers to landless blacks, had "severely disrupted farming activities as many resettled farmers lack access to capital and other inputs." The joint report recommended that next year's harvest and national food supply would improve if there was "an adequate and timely supply to farmers of good quality seeds and fertilizer ahead of the next cropping season" and urged "the international community to work jointly on improving food security by investing in farm mechanization and infrastructure." Lee said donor funding had not yet been secured, but since 2002 when food assistance began in Zaimbabwe, "the international community had been very generous." He said the only concern was funds were required "urgently."
     
  2. biguy2738

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    Argh!

    This country breaks my heart... I have been there and it is such a beautiful country with exceptional resources, yet it has been raped by it's government.

    The biggest tragedy, is that one would think that after our own struggle against Apartheid, the South African government would be proactive in halting a dictatorship where adverts are run on television during the voting season literally telling its citizens that they will die if they do not vote for Mugabe. Zimbabwe is our neighbour, it's citizens are flooding our country and our government turns a blind eye. In my eyes, they are just as guilty as Mugabe!
     
  3. homelessmandril

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    Those statistics are fucking horrible....it makes me wonder if perhaps that bit in the Geneva Convention about not assassinating foreign heads of state was a slight oversight....then again I suppose the whole Zanu party is just as incompetent as the president....

    What annoys me most is that the news reports about Zimbabwe are starting to make me wonder if things WERE actually better when the whites were in charge.
     
  4. dong20

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    Thanks Wally...minor niggle I find such long posts almost impossible to read when posted as one huge paragraph.

    The situation in Zim is bad, and getting worse. The crop failures are just another nail in the coffin. Rainfall south of Harare was well down on 05/06 whereas rainfall in areas of the north was pretty much average, but in both cases late.

    I was in Zambia in December-Jan and farmers there were getting worried by the unusual rainfall patterns, I can only imagine what it was like in Zimbabwe but I was busy and didn't have time to go. I'm back in July.

    Infrastructure failure, lack of Forex, political violence and I have to say the piss poor attitude of many 'farmers' on repossessed farms are also major factors in the downward spiral. Another complication, on the back of little or no Forex is a blackmarket rate for $ of about 100 times the bank rate which makes buying almost anything, especially fuel close to impossible. This has led to reduced and/or delayed planting.

    2007 is an El Nino year which simply adds to the problems,the effects were just starting to kick in as I was leaving. March is the key month for rain and, basically what came was too little too late for many farmers, especially in the south of the country. Zimbabwean corn crop yields are now barely half what they were even 5 years ago.

    I've not had chance to read the WFP report which came out today but based on the last FAO report a month ago those figures look about right.

    WFP Report, June 2007.
     
  5. SteveHd

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    I have no objection to icing him. It might be the best way to get rid of him.
     
  6. dong20

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    Pick a number, though to be fair he can't be blamed for an El Nino. Not preparing for it and all the other crimes he's committed, no problem.

    It's not going to be famine on the scale of Ethiopia but the fact that in no small measure it's been inflicted by an intransigent leader who has no concern for his people makes it equally unpalatable.
     
  7. homelessmandril

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    and daffy to boot, isn't he still claiming HIV is a myth concocted by neo-imperialists?

    I realised he'd lost it when I saw him wearing a shirt covered in images of his own face....if I wanted to look at his face it's right there, what's with the shirts....
     
  8. dong20

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    That's just typical Mugabe ranting. I don't think he's stupid, I never have. If he was that stupid he would almost certainly have been removed from power long ago.

    He may be (as Desmond Tutu called him - 'bonkers', senile - perhaps, contemptable - without doubt, but daffy - I don't think so. If you listen to his speeches you'll see what I mean.
     
  9. SteveHd

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    I'm not so sure. A day or two ago I read that only ten percent of the "normal wheat crop" has been planted so far.
     
  10. dong20

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    The wheat sowing season is now over, the figures in the WFP report suggest that by mid May about 25% had been sown. It's hard to get reliable data so who knows what the true figure is.

    I think it will be bad, very bad indeed but I still don't think it will be as severe as Ethiopia in 84-85 and again in 2002 - which (2002) partly resulted from World Bank incompetence.

    If the headlines read "Zimbabwe faces reduced harvest, government may have to import food" It's ignored whereas "Millions face starvation" gets our attention. I know that's cynical. Don't get me wrong I think things could get very very bad. Zimbabwe was in a similar situation in 2002 remember when over 7 million were deemed in need of food aid. Similar situation again in 2005, I know, I was there.

    The differences then were lower inflation, maybe 120% and the Government had better access to Forex with which to import food, which it did albeit grudgingly. Since then of course the further drop in tobacco and tourism revenues have made the overall economic situation worse and inflation has now skyrocketed out of control.

    I could be wrong, I just hope not.
     
  11. D_Humper E Bogart

    D_Humper E Bogart New Member

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    The US already has experience in icing African Leaders, so I tend to feel it must be more conveniant "In American Interests" to keep him, then the alternative.
     
  12. SteveHd

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    In the past, maybe, but USA is no longer allowed to do that.:biggrin1: Looking back to the Colonial era, was Europe a "perfect angel" down there?
     
  13. D_Humper E Bogart

    D_Humper E Bogart New Member

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    Course not! AFAIK Black people make very good target practice and biological speciments. Heck I can't wait for my DNA to be profiled!

    As for Africa.. the west trades more with "terrorist" nations. I find that funny.
     
  14. SteveHd

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    What is "AFAIK"? An acronym?
     
  15. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Like who?
     
  16. dong20

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    I was thinking the same thing, and off the top of my head I can't think of anyone obvious.

    There was speculation that the CIA were 'complicit' in the assassination of Pierre Ngendandumwe but I don't think it was ever proven. The CIA were sponsors of the 1960 coup in Congo which lead to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. But neither qualify as 'icing' to me.

    Over to you Orca....
     
  17. dong20

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ORCABOMBER
    The US already has experience in icing African Leaders.....

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by big dirigible
    Like who?

    Over to you Orca....we're still waiting for you to name names.
    I know I blame the US for many things but I like to think I don't like to blame them without cause.
     
  18. D_Humper E Bogart

    D_Humper E Bogart New Member

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    Unlike some people, I don't spend all my time on the net!

    Got decent PC games to play for starters...

    I would take a Patrice Lumumba with a Chianti (makes Hannibal Lester hissiy noise).

    Anyway, can't see why we can't intervene so "directly" on Zimbabwe's behalf...well besides the annoying mess of "yet another" ethnic cleansing.
     
  19. SteveHd

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    My assumption was that it was such a long list, with supporting links, that it was taking a couple of days to compile and type in.:biggrin1:
    I'd have no problem with Europe "directly intervening" as long as U.S. troops aren't involved. Due to Iraq, from now on, anytime and anywhere USA initiates a military action we will be branded as "war criminals," "baby killers," or whatever. Due the worldwide poisoned attitudes, I don't want our troops getting involved in anyone else's messes for the balance of my lifetime. I'm serious. Never again.
     
  20. dong20

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    It's such a shame really, if nations able to do so, were willing take a stand and intervene on purely moral or humanitarian grounds rather then to protect blatant self interest such situations as this may arise less and more support for such actions may be given by citizens of those nations involved. I know that's idealistic, but it's a nice day.

    This is not just the US I'm talking about here, the UK is little or no better, they just operate on a smaller scale. Although largely a situation it it's own making I do understand US policy on such interventions - it's damned if it does and damned if if it doesn't. In such cases it may as well only do so when there's a vital interest at stake.

    Nature of the job.....:biggrin1:

    It's a bit tenuous, you spoke with such assuredness I assumed, as SteveHD suggested that you had a long list ready....:smile:
     
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