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HomeAgricultureDrought looms in Zimbabwe

Drought looms in Zimbabwe

Drought looms

Drought looms in Zimbabwe

By Vimbai Kamoyo  

When weather experts predicted severe drought in this country this year, few people paid attention but the reality is dawning on many people now.

A trip from Harare to Rushinga showed a looming severe drought with many crops, mainly staple crops, and maize wilting and probably ready to be written off.

Only crops around Mazowe and Bindura, which are irrigated, are showing signs of life but as one gets into Madziva, Mount Darwin, and Rushinga it’s all a sorry sight.

Many villagers are now banking on the government to help them with food, particularly maize meal.

“If the government does not come to our rescue then we are done for,” said one villager in Chatumbama who declined to be named.

Late last year, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) said governments, donors, and humanitarian bodies must prepare for high food assistance needs in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar throughout 2024 to early 2025 as El Nino will disrupt agriculture.

El Nino, a natural climate phenomenon in which surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific become unusually warm, causing changes in global weather patterns, is expected to hit crop yields during the 2023/24 farming season.

The southern African country requires about 1.8 million tons of maize annually for human consumption and is expected to harvest less than a million tons which will be a huge deficit.

Drought (Meteorological and Agricultural) is the most common and high-impact natural hazard occurring in Zimbabwe, both in terms of frequency of occurrence and the number of people affected, with droughts accounting for 7 out of the 10 top major natural hazards since recorded in 1990.

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