Zimbabwe’s food crisis: ‘Food security is national security’

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Harare, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s food security situation poses a potential threat to national security and can cause civil unrest and general insecurity in the country, a top United Nations envoy warned.

Finally, let me echo the words of a government official I met in Harare: ‘food security is national security’. Never has this been truer than in today’s Zimbabwe. Food insecurity and land conflict increase the risks of civil unrest and insecurity,” Elver said in her report.

“The international community must scale up its humanitarian assistance and provide for most of the resources needed to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in times of food emergency.

“I urgently call on the government and the international community to come together to put an end to this spiralling crisis before it morphs into a full-blown social unrest.”

She said early warning mechanisms to monitor the economic and social rights of the citizens should be put in place to prevent further suffering.

Elver said the food security situation in urban areas was a cause for concern, saying the currency crisis, a heavy tax system, unpredictable inflation rates, high levels of unemployment and low wages had worsened the food crisis affecting urban households.

Zimbabwe adopted the use of the US dollar in 2009 after hyperinflation drastically reduced the value of the local currency.

But “dollarising” the economy hit a major bump in 2015 when greenbacks started vanishing from the formal banking system.

In June, the government moved to defend the Zimdollar against speculators by banning all foreign currencies in local transactions.

The Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading at 1:20 against the US dollar on the black market.

“As economic inequalities are on the rise, the once thriving middle-class of Zimbabwe is severely impacted by the crisis. C

According to Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), urban food insecurity is now affecting 2.2 million people.

“I visited one of the settlements located south of Harare. Approximately 5,000 people were living in inhuman conditions without any infrastructure, without jobs, without hope, and help,” said Elver.

“One resident of Chikos, told me that ‘I do not think they even know we exist’. Most of the public schools in Harare are no longer able to continue their school feeding programmes. At best, some schools are able to offer one meal a week per classroom.” source : aljazeera

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