|'Expand grain loan scheme'|
|Monday, 26 March 2012 17:41|
Traditional chiefs have appealed to government to scale up food assistance under the grain loan scheme, saying over a million people who were benefiting from the World Food Programme initiative will face hunger as the programme is coming to an end.
Chiefsâ€™ Council President, Chief Fortune Charumbira says under the government scheme, about 460 families in every ward in the drought hit areas are being supported while the remainder are under non-governmental organisations projects.
He added that beginning this April, there might be a food crisis if government does not move in swiftly to cover the gaps.
â€œWe are saying government should increase the number of people they are supporting under the grain loan scheme as some who are under the World Food Programme are likely to face hunger as they are winding up the programme,â€ he said.
Chief Shana of Hwange and Chief Nembire of Mt Darwin concurred that the food allocations currently being given to people are not adequate.
â€œWe are happy that government came up with the programme to assist families. However, the grain is not enough as some families are large. We have extended families and some have not received the January allocation,â€ said Chief Shana.
The Chiefs Council also called on the government to invest heavily in sustainable means such as irrigation development, saying the rainfall patterns continue to be unpredictable.
Several parts of the country are likely to face serious food shortages this year as a third of the current maize crop was declared a write-off.