WFP to scale up food security in urban areas

  • Epworth residents receiving cash assistance

THE World Food Programme (WFP) last week said the organisation will expand food security for the poor in urban setups.

The humanitarian organisation said it had escalated efforts to mobilise financial resources so that it provides food aid to mitigate the effects of hunger in many parts of Zimbabwe.

Addressing the media, WFP executive assistant director Valerie Guarnieri said the organisation was scaling up the food assistance programme to curb food challenges in Zimbabwe which have persisted due to recurring climate change-related droughts.

“As WFP, we have been scaling up food assistance to ensure that the most vulnerable are targeted and enriched with food in order to meet their daily household needs,” Guarnieri said.

She also said Zimbabwe was currently in the throes of its worst ever economic and food security crises, with 7.7 million people struggling to feed themselves.

“Extended drought and the impacts of a major economic crunch have rapidly heightened levels of food insecurity across the country,” she remarked.

Guarnieri added that WFP was working toward feeding the urban poor, where targeting was difficult and food aid may not be the right response.

She further noted that the humanitarian organisation was currently assisting Epworth residents with transfer cash as a mitigation measure.

“Epworth residents are receiving Econet cash transfer that they use to buy food in the market which is also helping them to ensure their livelihoods are linked with help to remove their dependence on food security and hunger,” Guarnieri added.

Guarnieri said the programme in Epworth was expected to run for 18 months, with each family member receiving the equivalent of US9 for the purchasing of basic commodities.

“The monthly cash support will continue for the next 18 months, which will help families sustain themselves for at least three weeks,” she added.

Guarnieri revealed that efforts were underway to encourage mushroom production in Epworth which is expected to reach a target of 100 000 people for the month of February.

WFP is a food assistance branch of the United Nations and is considered to be the world’s largest organisation responsible for addressing hunger and food security.