The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed food and cash worth US$22.5 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) which yesterday launched its lean season relief operation with a food distribution at Nekabandama, Hwange district. This support from USAID will enable WFP to assist people struggling to buy or product enough food for their families in seven of the most food insecure districts in the country until March next year.
Poor weather conditions during the 2014-2015 agricultural season, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, contributed to large-scale crop failure across the country. As a result, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, an estimated 1.5 million rural Zimbabweans will face food insecurity during the next six months.
“USAID is proud to support the World Food Programme to help vulnerable Zimbabweans cope until next year’s harvest,” said USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk. “The United States and our partners will continue to work hand in hand with the people of Zimbabwe as they build resilience and long-term food security.”
WFP’s Lean Season Assistance program succeeds an ongoing USAID-supported Productive Asset Creation program being implemented by WFP and other partners. It provides food rations or cash transfers to households engaging in the creation or rehabilitation of community assets, such as dip tanks, irrigation systems, and dams, with a view to improving community resilience to climate-related shocks.
“WFP is grateful for the generous contributions from USAID which have made it possible for vulnerable households to meet their food and nutrition needs and protect their assets at this critical lean season period,” said WFP Zimbabwe Deputy Country Director Niels Balzer at yesterday’s launch. “In our goal to reach zero hunger in Zimbabwe, we will continue to invest in resilience building activities while doing our best to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people.”
In addition to the $22.5 million contribution to WFP this year, USAID has provided an additional $5 million to World Vision and Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) to respond to food security shocks across 10 districts in Manicaland, Masvingo, and Matabeleland and South. With total contributions over $27 million, USAID and its partners will reach over 300,000 people with food assistance across the country.
In its efforts to help Zimbabweans move toward long-term food security, USAID supports multiple food security initiatives to help tens of thousands of vulnerable people to increase their agricultural productivity and incomes and improve their nutritional status. Ultimately, this effort will ensure that vulnerable people become more resilient in the face of food security shocks, including recurrent drought.
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For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have invested over $2.6 billion in Zimbabwe. Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote a more democratic system of governance.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies, and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
For additional information, please contact:
Karen Kelley, U.S. Embassy Harare Counselor for Public Affairs, at email@example.com and +263 4 758800/1
Tinashe Mubaira, WFP/Harare, at firstname.lastname@example.org and +263 772 198 614 and +263 4 252471