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Concern over Manicaland grain reserves

[Zimbabwe] food deliveries
Zimbabweans are struggling to cope with the ongoing economic crisis (WFP)

Most households in Zimbabwe's province of Manicaland are expected to exhaust their grain reserves by July, the latest World Food Programme (WFP) situation report has warned.

In March, WFP provided relief food for over 830,000 people in the province which borders Mozambique but, instead of recovering at harvest time, severe drought and an invasion of army worms left many communities still vulnerable.

"Parts of Manicaland have suffered from almost total crop failure," WFP spokeswoman Makena Walker told IRIN on Monday. "Some families have only harvested one month's food."

The areas most affected are Chimanimani, Mutasa, Buhera and Chipinge, she said.

The WFP report added that households were worried about inputs for the coming season and farmers were concerned that large increases in the price of seed and other agricultural inputs would severely constrain productivity.

It said the lack of food availability was exacerbated by "an almost total absence" of Grain Marketing Board cereals for sale.

In Chimanimani district people were crossing the border into Mozambique to sell goods and clothes. Foot-and-mouth disease had also reduced livestock in the district, with average herd sizes falling from 15 in normal years, to five.

Walker said while distribution of food aid had been scaled down at the beginning of the harvest as some households had managed to raise some crops, distribution was being scaled up again in response to the current situation.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee and a national nutrition survey, which will provide details on the food security condition throughout the country, is expected to be released this week.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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