LIVINGSTONE  District has  received  100  metric tonnes of  mealie  meal  from  the  Disaster Management  and  Mitigation  Unit  (DMMU),  to prevent  hunger which is threatening  2,000 households.

Acting  Livingstone  District Commissioner Harriet  Kawina  said  the  relief  food  was equivalent  to  4,000 by  25  kilogram  bags of  mealie meal  and  targeted  beneficiaries would  mostly  be  those  that  suffered  crop  failure in  the 2018/2019  farming  season,  due  to  drought.

Ms Kawina  said that  most  small  scale  farmers on  the  outskirts of  Livingstone  recorded   zero-harvests  due  to  the  prolonged  dry  spells that  characterized  the  last  farming season  and  affected  households  with  no  alternative  source  of  income.

She  said  this in  Livingstone  on  Wednesday,  during  an  urgent  District  Disaster Management  Committee  (DDMC)  meeting  called  to  plan  for selection  of  Project Implementing  Partners  (PIP),  for  distribution  of  the  relief  food.

And  Ms Kawina  said  mealie meal  was a  perishable  product  and  needed  to  be  distributed quickly  to  beneficiaries. 

She  directed  the  Ministry  of  Agriculture;  Department  of  Community  Development  and  its sister Department  Social  Welfare,  to  submit lists  of  potential  household  beneficiaries which  would  be  assessed  to  avoid  duplication.

Ms Kawina  said  households  headed  by  persons with  disabilities,   small-scale  farmers (solely  dependent  on  rain  fed  agriculture), child  and  female  headed households,  would  be  among  the  targeted  beneficiaries.

She  stressed  the  need  to  prevent  hunger in  the  tourist  capital, as it  could  lead  to malnutrition  and  other  health  conditions  which  would  be  costly  for government  to address  in  the  long  term.

Earlier, Ministry  of  Agriculture senior agricultural officer  Tundu  Kaonga  said  according to  the  last  crop  forecast  conducted,  maize  production  in  Livingstone  declined  by  99 percent.

Mr. Kaonga  said  maize  production  in  the  tourist  capital declined  from  200  metric tonnes to  almost  zero  in  communities that  rely  on  farming  to  sustain  themselves. 

Once  selected,  the  Project  Implementing  Partner will be  expected  to  deliver relief  food to  Kasiya  Ward,  Simoonga,  Shungu  and  Nansanzu  Ward  as they  are  the  most  affected areas.-ZANIS

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