USAID doubles drought response contribution to $86.9 million to assist more than one million Zimbabweans

Food provided by USAID through WFP. Photo credit: Tatenda Macheka, WFP

Harare, September 24, 2019 –The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional US$41.9 million in funding to respond to the critical food security situation in Zimbabwe between October 2019 and April 2020.  The funding will ensure that more than one million rural Zimbabweans have access to adequate food supplies before the next harvest.

“The United States is proud to be part of a coordinated response to the humanitarian situation,” said Ambassador Brian A. Nichols. “These contributions will enable USAID to scale up its emergency response over the coming months.  We will work closely with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that Zimbabweans in dire need of assistance have access to lifesaving food.  While we recognize that there is currently a need for this type of assistance, humanitarian assistance alone is not enough.  The root causes of food insecurity and poverty must be tackled for Zimbabweans to end chronic food insecurity for good.  The United States urges the Government of Zimbabwe to implement a market-based agriculture policy and eradicate corruption in its subsidy programs, which severely exacerbate the very problems of food insecurity they are purportedly intended to solve.”

On August 6, the United States announced US$45 million in funding to the WFP to provide food rations and cash transfers in response to the UN Flash appeal.  These food and cash distributions will help improve the nutrition of vulnerable Zimbabweans and alleviate suffering for those affected by food insecurity. Today’s additional contribution will bring the total U.S. humanitarian funding in response to the 2019/20 lean season to US$86.9 million.  These resources are in addition to US$15 million in emergency food security funding from the United States announced in February of this year in support of 2018/19 lean season needs under the UN Flash appeal and US$7.9 million in Cyclone Idai response funding.  These contributions bring the total U.S. contribution to emergency needs in Zimbabwe to $109.8 million in 2019 and make the United States the largest bilateral donor to emergency humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe.

“WFP is grateful for this generous new contribution from the American people, which will be key to ensure vulnerable households meet their food and nutrition needs in difficult circumstances,” said WFP Zimbabwe Country Director, Eddie Rowe. “We will continue to provide critical food and livelihood support to the people who are hardest-hit at a time of unprecedented needs.”

In addition to this emergency response, USAID’s programs are improving long-term food security for Zimbabwe by building resilience to future shocks.  The United States is providing US$144 million over seven years to non-governmental partners Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture and World Vision to address the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas.  USAID has also provided US$20 million over five years through the Feed the Future initiative to Fintrac, Inc. and LEAD Trust to reduce rural poverty and improve food security through increased agricultural production and market linkages for small-scale farmers.

Today’s additional US$41.9 million demonstrates the United States’ continued commitment to assist the people of Zimbabwe during difficult times.

Poor weather conditions in Zimbabwe, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, combined with poor economic policies, have contributed to increased humanitarian needs across the country.

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For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe.  Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote democratic governance. 

For additional information, please contact the Public Affairs Office at or Development Outreach and Communications Specialist Doreen Hove at