50 000 Gokwe villagers in need of food aid

By William Milasi

The debilitating drought which has ravaged most parts of the country following crop failure caused by incessant heat wave has left nearly 50 000 in dire need of food aid in Gokwe North.

Gokwe North District Administrator Isaac Mutambara in an interview said some parts of Gokwe only received rains twice during the cropping season.

He has called for an immediate government intervention to salvage the unnerving situation.

The country’s prime producer of cotton, farmers in the area have since been left counting their losses.

“Most of the crops are a complete right off. What could have been saved of the crops from the scorching heat is now being destroyed by pests,” he said.

He described the situation as a case of shattered hopes.

“No meaningful harvest is to be expected which is a very unfortunate situation as this was the farmer’s only hope. As of yesterday (Thursday) 48 000 are vulnerable and are in urgent need of food aid,” he said.

He indicated that so bad was the cropping season that some areas received rains only twice.

“The Siamchembo area that borders Gokwe North and Binga received rainfall only twice this season and is the most affected,” he said.

Mutambara indicated that though there is an ongoing school feeding programme to feed school children, the grain being received from government is inadequate.

“Villagers are sharing the little grain from Social Welfare. The scenario is very bad. We however, have to thank God as there is a school feeding programme in schools.

“On average 2 villagers in a village of 35 households are recipients of grain and then they would share the 50 kg of grain with the rest of the villagers,” he said.

He indicated that currently Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which used to operate in the area are not operating.

“Currently there are no NGOs operating in the area. World Vision is promising to come on board. We used to get assistance from Caritas and World Vision,” he said.

Most of the villagers are now struggling to find water for domestic use and provide for their domestic animals after most of the rivers and boreholes dried up.

Villagers are now forced to walk an average 10 km to find water for domestic use.

In the past farming season Gokwe recorded a staggering amount of 31 million kilograms of cotton, retaining its known glory of being the top cotton producer in the counrty.

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