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COVID-19 has also struck in Zimbabwe. The government declared a national emergency and imposed various measures, which have since been relaxed.
The (temporary) restriction on freedom of movement will in any case affect farmers' livelihoods, as well as food security in the country. For example, (small) farmers have limited access to all kinds of input and are less able to sell their products. Cattle herders are finding it more difficult to find grazing land and food prices are rising.
COVID-19 will thus undeniably exacerbate the already existing problems in Zimbabwe. 45% of the rural population – 4.3 million people – are facing severe food insecurity, aggravated by insufficient rainfall. Cattle farmers are also suffering from the drought. Some 66,000 cattle are said to have succumbed by now.
It is evident that many Zimbabweans are facing difficult times. This is why Belgium is aiming to assist the vulnerable population via SFERA, an emergency fund from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). €355,000 will help 1,272 vulnerable livestock farmers in the worst-affected areas. They will receive cattle fodder to get through the dry season.
On top of that, 2,000 poor farming families will receive a package of drought-resistant seeds of sorghum and cowpeas. Both cattle farmers and land farmers will receive training on making optimum use of the feed and seeds.
The aid action is part of the Early Action section from SFERA.