The World Food Programme (WFP) has pledged to scale up humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe after being impressed by the government’s vision in addressing agriculture, food security and rural development issues and its commitment to improve the livelihoods of rural populations.

WFP assistant executive director Mr Manoj Juneja, accompanied by the United Nations resident coordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli and WFP Zimbabwe country director Mr Eddie Rowe, made the remarks after holding a meeting with Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga at his Munhumutapa offices today.

Mr Juneja is on a four day official visit to Zimbabwe to assess WFP that are being undertaken in the country.

The work of WFP is guided by a five year country strategic plan (CSP 2016 to 2021) which was approved by the WFP executive board in 2017.

The country is facing another climate change induced drought this rainy season amid revelations by government that the 2018-19 rainfall season points to an El nino.

The phenomenon normally results in either too little rainfall leading to a drought or too much rainfall, leading to flooding which then translates to hunger.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting Mr Juneja said WFP stands ready to assist Zimbabwe.

“We are ready to scale up our operations starting with the lean season assistance. We are already planning to reach more than 1.1 million people in the coming months but should there be a need, we stand ready to scale up substantially. WFP is renowned for its capacity to respond to such emergencies and we stand ready to assist the population,” he said.

Mr Juneja said they (WFP) are extremely happy with the progress and cooperation with the government adding that there is a great spirit of collaboration.

“I met with Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Honourable Sekai Nzenza and we see a great spirit of collaboration there as well. The country strategic plan, the WFP provides a great opportunity to address the resilience issues in Zimbabwe but also we stand ready to scale up response in the livelihood food assistance activities should there be a further drought in Zimbabwe,” he said.

WFP is also assisting refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp following the increased inflow of refugees from neighbouring Mozambique.

The WFP conducts baseline surveys to check the status of food security and livelihoods for refugees in the camp.