Home » General » Helping People Through Zimbabwe's Hungry Months

ZvishavaneIn parts of rural Zimbabwe, the post-harvest period is traditionally associated with joy and merry-making as food is plentiful – but not so this year. Barren fields and shrivelled crops point to tough times ahead. It’s the end of the rainy season and rivers have long dried up. Nonetheless, desperate droves of cattle, goats and sheep are drawn to dry river beds in search of water. Drought has once again played havoc with the lives of men and beasts. 

Zimbabwe this season has suffered the predicament not only of receiving rains late but too much rain that resulted in flooding,  affecting thousands of families, particularly in the south which has, in recent years, been getting less rainfall than the rest of the country. The 2015 harvest is forecast at 950,000 metric tons of maize, the staple, far less than the 1.8 million metric tons Zimbabwe’s people need.

WFP is embarking on a response programme meant to help farmers safeguard their remaining assets whilst strengthening their ability to withstand future shocks.

Janet Mungofa lives in the Mazvihwa area of Zvishavane, a rural outpost some nearly 400 km south of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. She farms the land she inherited from her late husband and looks after seven orphaned grandchildren. She is one of many who will need to rely on support channelled through the World Food Programme for assistance.

 “We did everything right,” says Janet Mungofa “But the skies just would not open up.”

To safeguard the livelihoods of the most vulnerable families, WFP and partners started the 2015t Productive Asset Creation cycle aimed at meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable who are already bearing the brunt of failed harvests, whilst providing them with the means to work their way out of food insecurity and build a future free from hunger. Under this programme, community members are given either food or cash while they work on projects such as irrigation and water harvesting schemes that will support agricultural activities in the next season, help them earn an income and allow them to  better withstand recurrent shocks.

“We did everything right,” says Janet Mungofa “But the skies just would not open up.”

Since 2012, WFP has helped create nearly a thousand community assets in more than 25 rural districts. Contributions from the US, Japan, Canada and multilateral allocations from WFP Headquarters have ensured a timely start to the 2015 Productive Asset Creation activities.

For Janet and many others in rural Zimbabwe, the Productive Asset Creation programme may just be the start of a journey to self-sufficiency.