Canada extends CA$3 million for drought relief in Matobo

The Canadian government has, through the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), extended three million Canadian dollars (CA$3 million), an equivalent of US$2, 2 million to Zimbabwe for drought relief in Matobo district.

Zimbabwe is facing a devastating drought, with over seven million citizens considered food insecure, owing to failed successive cropping seasons exacerbated by climate change effects.

In a statement, WFP said the money was for lifting 55, 000 out of hunger in Matobo District, in the drought-prone Matabeleland South Province.

“The funding supports WFP’s rapid scale-up of emergency food assistance to reach almost 55,000 people in Matobo district,” said WFP.

“Canada’s contribution comes at a crucial time when WFP is working to provide 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe with emergency food assistance amid the country’s ongoing hunger crisis. At present, more than 7.7 million people – or half of Zimbabwe’s population – is food insecure, and US$104 million is still required for WFP to provide people with life-saving food assistance during the peak of this year’s lean season and in the wake of poor harvests through until June 2020.”

Canadian ambassador to Zimbabwe René Cremonese said the North American country was committed to helping the Southern African nation alleviate drought.

“Canada is standing with the people of Zimbabwe in addressing food insecurity by providing CAD$3 million to the WFP to help 55,000 people in Matobo district, in addition the CAD$1 million provided early in 2019,” said Cremonese.

WFP representative and country director, Eddie Rowe, paid tribute to Canada for rescuing Zimbabwe.

“WFP would like to thank the government of Canada for its continued commitment to the people of Zimbabwe,” said Rowe.

“WFP is seriously concerned about the hunger that millions of Zimbabweans are enduring – and the very real prospect that their plight will get worse before it gets better. This support from Canada will go a long way towards improving the well-being of food-insecure people, particularly children and women.”

Besides providing Zimbabweans with food to put on the table and meet their daily nutritional needs, WFP’s Canadian funded food assistance also provides a cushion for Zimbabweans during the lean season.

“It protects them from resorting to detrimental ways of coping, like selling assets or livestock which will undermine their food security in the longer term,” said the WFP

“WFP is helping to improve the self-sufficiency of vulnerable communities by supporting local initiatives to boost agricultural production, improve access to markets, increase earnings and savings, and minimise the impact of adverse weather. Simple investments can transform people’s lives: increasing small grains production by supporting smallholder farmers, a vegetable garden, a fishpond, a small dam to retain precious water, a borehole.”

WFP operates in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters.

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