ZAPU: Declare farming season a national disaster

ZAPU has implored the government to declare the 2023/2024 farming season a national disaster, claiming that thousands of farmers are losing their crops, which will result in severe drought conditions in the country, necessitating massive interventions.

Zimbabwe and other southern African countries have been warned that drought conditions may persist until 2025, with calls for governments, donors, and humanitarian agencies to prepare for high food assistance needs.

ZAPU National Organiser, Ndodana Moyo, told CITE that he has been visiting many rural areas as part of his party portfolio and has seen firsthand the effects of drought on people’s fields.

“I have been travelling to many rural areas and seen that many families, if not thousands, have lost their crops to the heat and lack of rains, not to mention the effect of drought on livestock as well. This means more people will face starvation,” Moyo said. “I therefore implore the Government to declare this farming season a national disaster so that people receive the necessary interventions and aid on time.”

Moyo said that apart from mining, the country also depends on agriculture, a sector heavily reliant on rain. “If there is no or little rain, it’s obvious people will lose their crops, vegetables, and livestock. This is why, as ZAPU, we are saying the farming season should be declared a national disaster because it’s affected by drought,” said the ZAPU national organiser.

Moyo expressed concern that most of the farming population lives in rural areas, making them more susceptible to shocks from drought occurrences. “The general standard of life for some people is low and will be worsened by the drought. This in turn affects more women and children who have to find ways of surviving and means of food,” he said.

Moyo acknowledged the resilience of Zimbabweans but argued that even they may tire due to the tough and gloomy situation culminating in the country. “I am not even talking about politics, but this is a situation that requires a collective effort from everyone in the country. Everyone needs food to survive, even if you are fasting at one point – you need food. Everyone is affected by the weather and the heat, and when it’s hot, labour outside is reduced, which affects productivity. Therefore, drought affects all of us,” he said.

“Even if you think you are wealthy, your food stocks will run out. Where will you get food if there is drought?” Moyo added, noting his argument may sound simplistic but was intended to help people grasp the effects of drought at the national and household levels.

ZAPU’s call comes after the Zambian government declared the ongoing drought a national disaster and emergency. Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema said the country had gone without rain for five weeks at a time when farmers needed it the most.

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