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Umzingwane villagers cry foul over donors suspending food relief after crops failure due to water logging

by Stephen Jakes
05 Jul 2021 at 19:24hrs | Views
In what might be described as donor syndrome, villagers in parts of Umzingwane district have cried foul that they are experiencing serious food shortage after the donors who used to provide them with  food relief pulled out of the district citing improvement in food production due to the good rains that fell during the 2020-2021 rainy season.

Some villagers in areas such as Nswazi, Sezhube, Mtshabezi and Irrisvale say despite the good rains that pounded the country, they were riling in food shortage after most of their crops got water logged and failed to yield any fruits.

They say their food situation is also worsened by the pull out of donors who used to give them food relief  as they  believed that most communal farmers will harvest due to the rains that fell during the rainy season

Non-governmental organisations used to provide food relief to the villagers through the Umzingwane District Development Coordinator's office that chairs the District Civil Protection Unity and the social welfare department, but indications are that they have all ceased the free food relief programmes.

A ward 12 villager Sithembiso Ncube says her hopes of harvesting were dashed when her crops were water logged since her fields are at a low laying area where water usually collects.

"When the rains started falling in November 2020, I had hopes to harvest, but as it continued to fall none stop, my crops had no chance to grow due to water logging. I have a very poor harvest which cannot last me up to the next rain season," Ncube says.

"I will have to work extra hard to feed my family throughout this period s donors recently pulled out."

Another villager, Themba Ndlovu of Mtshabezi says while the country received good rainfall, some of the places were deeply affected by heavy rainfall which led to crops being water logged.

In our area we received a lot of rainfall that led to water logging and some crops were washed away by heavy rains. Many families are harvesting less than a bag which is not going to last them," Ndlovu says.

"The last time we received food from donors was November 2020, so we are hoping that maybe the government will intervene because people did not harvest anything here  and remain vulnerable to starvation."

Another villager Martha Nyathi of Sezhube says most of the villagers in her area have continued to buy mealie meal from shops despite the rains that fell as they did not harvest.

"Our survival is still the same as we have been, that we buy food from the shops because we lost out due to continuous rains," she says.

However, Umzingwane legislator Levi Mayihlome (Zanu PF) confirms that donors pulled out though he was not sure of when they did so.

"The donors suspended food relief but I cannot tell you when exactly...," says Mayihlome.

Mayihlome says those who did not harvest much crops did not cultivate or were lazy to work because people were given fertilizers.

"People were given fertilizers and seeds under the conservation agriculture project (ugantshompo). I don't believe there are people who failed to harvest crops and are starving," says Mayihlome.

Umzingwane district development coordinator, Peter Mahlathini says many partners who supported villagers with food suspended programmes after the rains.

"It is true that many of our partners in food relief suspended programmes, but since I am away for some time I do not have information at hand on who the donors were," he says.

However, indications are that the World Vision continues to assist villagers in some areas with farming projects so that they are self-reliant.

Umzingwane District Water and Sanitation Sub Committee (DWSCC) chairperson Nkosana Ndlovu recently said World Vision was assisting his community with gardening projects in Wards 4 and 12.

"The garden has a 10 000-litre Jojo tank though we feel it isn't enough as it's supplying the community as well as the garden," he said.

Source - Byo24news