Zim faces food shortages as WFP cuts aid

Harare - A million Zimbabweans benefiting from United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) aid are facing hunger due to a lack of funding that has caused deep cuts in assistance, the organisation said on Tuesday.

At the start of the first term pupils at 117 of the 5 275 schools dependent on the National School Nutrition Programme went for a few days without food, the portfolio committee on education was told. Credit: AFP

In September, the WFP said 2.2 million people in the southern African country faced food shortages, the highest in four years, following a drought and poor harvest.

The WFP had hoped to increase the number of people under its relief operations to 1.8 million but said it was instead being forced to reduce the number of recipients due to a lack of cash.

“In fact, we've had to cut rations for one million of our beneficiaries in recent months and there are likely to be deeper cuts as from next month,” it said in a statement.

The monthly ration is made up of cooking oil, beans and maize, the staple food.

The WFP said it needed $60 million to implement full relief operations in the next six months in the impoverished nation of 13 million.

The 2.2 million in need of food aid is the highest since early 2009, the end of a decade-long economic decline.