ms khupe 02.09.jpgGovernment has officially launched the food cash for assets community works programme in Gwanda, with treasury having already released US$2 million for the first phase of the programme.

 

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who was represented by the Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe warned against the politicisation of the food programme.

“Another important principle that we have agreed as cabinet is that this programme will be apolitical. Hunger does not discriminate according to political affiliation. All are impacted equally.

 

“Therefore, in order to remove political partisanship in the selection of beneficiaries, district drought relief committees will work at village level through community-selected food distribution committees,” DPM Khupe said.

 

The Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Dr Ignatius Chombo said the programme which will see communities working on local projects for money, also seeks to promote development while shunning the dependency syndrome.

The government also underscored the need to capacitate small holder farmers in order to reduce food insecurity.

The delegation visited the Gwanda Grain Marketing Depot to assess its state of infrastructure and capacity for the programme before proceeding to Magwe Irrigation Scheme where farmers where briefed about the programme.

The small holder farmers also narrated the challenges that continue to impact negatively on their operations including a water bill amounting to US$33 000.

The national food mitigation strategy that is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and the World Food Programme, follows the realisation that by May next year over a million rural people will be in need of food assistance.

Some districts in the country experienced a poor 2009 -2010 farming season, hence the need for food assistance.

 

The food programme will be running until 2011 and will be delivered in three phases.