Govt should take meaningful steps to ensure food security and sufficient nutrition for all Zimbabweans – The Zimbabwean

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Forum) joins Zimbabwe and the rest of the continent to celebrate Africa Day, a very important day in the history of the continent. Marking its 59th anniversary this year, Africa Day is an annual commemoration of the foundation of the African Union, which was originally formed in 1963 as the Organization for African Unity.

This year, this day is celebrated under the theme 2022: Year of Nutrition. It aims to promote greater political commitment by leaders to investment in nutrition as part of the continent’s long-term vision set in Agenda 2063. The Forum welcomes the theme as it closely resonates with Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (2020-2025) priorities. Including food security and nutrition.

Food is the inalienable right of every human being. Freedom from hunger and malnutrition is vital for the enjoyment of human rights including human dignity.

The topic could not have come at a better time as the Continental Accountability Scorecard, commissioned by the African Union and the Africa Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), shows that eighty million children under the age of five have nutritionally-induced restricted development and they There are 58.7 million children. Africa. Zimbabwe has similarly not been spared with a rise in cases of acute malnutrition in the country as food shortages are taking their toll.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVac) report showed that the percentage of children receiving a minimum acceptable diet for essential growth and development decreased from 6.9% in 2020 to 2.1% in 2021. Concerned Masuku, Minister of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, has indicated that the country will see a 43% drop in maize production due to the 2021 short rainy season. By the end of 2022, projections indicate that the number of hungry Zimbabweans will increase by almost 50% to 8.6 million.

The Forum noted that the government’s ambitious agriculture programme, the Kaman Krishi Yojana launched in 2016, has been hit by allegations of corruption. The Rashtrapati Input Scheme aimed at protecting vulnerable communities from agricultural inputs has been largely biased and so has the relief food aid. The recent arrest of Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Douglas Karoro for grabbing 700 sacks of fertilizer, 30 tonnes of maize seed and 5000 vegetable combo kits from the President’s Input Scheme, which he then sold, is one of this A sad reflection of how the needy are not getting benefits from such programmes.

The Forum is deeply concerned that other human rights violations have exposed many Zimbabweans to food insecurity. Many are crippled by various forms of political violence and unable to work and support themselves and their families while others are forced to flee their homes. In addition, repeated and aimless destruction of vending stalls by the government has exposed many people who depend on vending for starvation. The government also failed to provide meaningful social grants to vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown. The government has also failed to support the victims of internal displacement, most of whom will become food insecure after displacement.
To fulfill the people’s right to food and in line with the theme of Africa Day, the Forum challenges the Government of Zimbabwe to:

  • Ensuring that people have equitable access to adequate and safe nutritional food that meets their dietary needs;
  • ensuring that people, especially in marginalized communities, have access to opportunities that enable them to produce their own food;
  • Immediately stop investing huge amounts of resources on means of repression and channel resources to address the economic challenges facing the country so that people have the means to access food;
  • Affordable prices of agricultural inputs to allow farmers to produce enough food for the country; And
  • Ensuring that IDPs have access to the means of production so that they can make their own food.

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