Zimbabwe joined the world in celebrating World Food Day (WFD) celebrations yesterday on the 17th of October 2019 at Insukamini Irrigation Scheme in Gweru District, Midlands Province.
World Food Day is celebrated on the 16th of October every year to commemorate the day on which the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations was founded in 1945. WFD is celebrated in Zimbabwe and the whole world in order to provide a platform to discuss issues related to agricultural production and productivity, food and nutrition security and rural development.
In a speech read on his behalf by the deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, the Guest of Honour and Minister of Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Perrence Shiri, said that, “World Food Day provides the platform for government and its partners to discuss issues related to food and nutrition security.”
Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Shiri, said that, “we take this opportunity to educate our people on the importance of increased productivity, healthy diets and food security.”
“My ministry’s thrust is development of an efficient, competitive and sustainable agriculture sector, which ensures food and nutrition security and increased incomes at both household and national levels.” Said Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Shiri.
This year’s World Food Day (WFD) was commemorated held under the theme “Our Actions Are Our Future. Healthy Diets for Zero Hunger World”
Zimbabwe has suffered years of food insecurity due to climate change and climate variability induced droughts in the past two seasons.
“the country experienced a poor rainfall season with below normal rainfall being recorded in most parts of the country. From the crop assessment exercise, production for the past season was 851 844 metric tonnes against a national requirement of 1 754 225 metric tonnes”, said Air Chief Marshal (Rt) P Shiri.
Zimbabwe has also suffered El Nino induced droughts that have affected and worsened the food resilience of communities and last year, “Cyclone Idai caused extensive damage mostly in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces. Its impact on agriculture has resulted in destruction of approximately 9 338ha of maize and 1 256ha of horticulture. The cycle did not spare livestock as it resulted in at least 1 4 21 cattle deaths and quite a significant amount of small livestock”, said Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Shiri.
The government has embarked on a number of agriculture infrastructure rehabilitation programmes to optimize increased food production and food security and nutrition through irrigation revealed Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Shiri.
The government has embarked on programmes to ensure and promote, “ small grains production, the Productive Assets Creation and cash transfers, nutrition sensitive agriculture trainings, command agriculture, small stock and crop demonstrations, improved horticulture and post-harvest management trainings.” Said Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Shiri.
Insukamini Irrigation Scheme in Lower Gweru, has managed to ensure increased food production, crop diversification, food and nutrition security through the production of horticulture products, cereals and grains, leguminous crops and biofortified and nutrient dense crops like the orange maize that is rich in Vitamin A; NUA 45 sugar beans that are rich in Zinc and Iron.
The Zimbabwe government working in partnership with several stakeholders and partners like the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, the World Food Programme, WFP among others have embarked on several institutional capacity building programmes like the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Programme (SHEP) focused on training horticulture farmers and strengthen linkages to markets and value chains said Air Chief Marshal (Rt) Shiri.
The government is also monitoring food and nutrition security indicators and has established early warning systems to avoid crises and to pan accordingly trough programmes for crop and livestock assessments for information gathering, planning and decision making.
By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason