Nkayi calling on Govt to introduce food-for-work scheme

Nkayi calling on Govt to introduce food-for-work scheme
Published: 05 January 2012 (2434 Views)
HUNDREDS of villagers in Nkayi District are facing food shortages and are calling on the Government to introduce the food-for-work scheme, the state controlled Chronicle reported.

A visit by Chronicle to some parts  of Nkayi on Tuesday established that people in the district, especially the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children, were struggling to put food on the table.

Although maize is available at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), villagers said they did not have the money to buy it, while others complained of prohibitive transport costs.

A 50kg bag of maize at the GMB costs $17.
"It is high time that the Government introduces the food-for-work scheme so that vulnerable families can get food,"   said Nkayi Senator Mr Robert Rabson Makhula.

"The reports we have indicate that all the wards are affected with Nkayi South being the hardest hit because of low yields last year. Yes, there is plenty of maize at GMB but there is a need to take maize to the wards in order to cut transport costs for poor villagers.

"For instance, from Nkayi Growth Point to Sivalo and Mbuma it is about 100km. This is a costly distance for villagers and a majority of them cannot afford."
Nkayi District has 30 wards.
The villagers said those with grain were taking advantage of the situation to sell it at exorbitant prices with some getting it in exchange for livestock.

"We are aware that maize is available at GMB but we do not have the money to buy it. Most people here are not employed. It very is difficult to get money for transport to GMB," said Mr Sindiso Mpofu from Bafana village.

Said Gogo MaNcube from Mabhongwane village: "Isimo sibi mntanami, ukudla akubonwa (the situation is bad my child, there is no food). The cost of a 20kg bucket of maize ranges between $8 and $10. It is those with money who will survive."

Headman Mlume of Nkone area concurred.

"The food situation here is critical. Very few people are able to buy maize from GMB. We have orphans and the elderly who cannot raise a cent.

"Some have started selling their livestock in order to buy food. Sadly, others are being robbed of their possessions because they are desperate," said Headman Mlume.

"We appeal to the Government to introduce food-for-work to cater for the less privileged. Non-governmental organisations should also intervene to save lives."

According to a letter written to Headman Mlume from the district administrator's office dated 14 December 2011, a copy of which is in possession of Chronicle, the district drought relief committee has engaged some non-governmental organisations to assist the most needy communities with food.

"There is a new food relief programme and your area has been identified as one of the most critical. We request your co-operation in working with the donor  to assist the people," reads the letter, which bears the district administrator's stamp.

Severe food shortages have also been reported in Matabeleland South.
Recently, the United Nations predicted that more than one million Zimbabweans will be in dire need of food aid in the first quarter of the year.

- Chronicle

Tags: Nkayi, shortages, food,
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