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'Food for Work' Program Praised as Response to Droughts in Zimbabwe

The Herald applauds the Government's initiative to reintroduce the food for work programme for people affected by this year's ravaging drought. Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said last week that the food for work programme had already begun in Mashonaland West Province and that it would soon spread across the country.

Acting President Mnangagwa made the remarks in an address to villagers during a tour of Nandi Estates run by the Agricultural Rural Development Authority in Chiredzi, Masvingo Province.

The El Nino-induced drought has caused widespread food shortages in the entire Southern African region. It is estimated that as many as 4 million people might require food assistance in Zimbabwe alone, prompting President Mugabe to declare the drought a state of national disaster for the nation to be able to mobilise local and international relief efforts to avert mass starvation.

Acting President Mnanganwa told the gathering that Government was also engaged in efforts to reduce the country's dependency on rain-fed agriculture and migrate to irrigation in view of the frequency of droughts in the country as a result of climate change.

We (The Herald) support the food for work programme for two main reasons. The first is that there are many able-bodied people who should be able to work to fend for their families. We believe it is bad practice to get people used to free food handouts simply because there has been a drought. This creates a dependency syndrome.

UN Geneva

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