WFP pledged $253 million to fund a five-year plan to end hunger in Zimbabwe

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday pledged $253 million to fund a five-year plan to end hunger in Zimbabwe, which is emerging from a devastating drought that left more than 4 million people in need of food aid last year.

An El Nino-induced drought scorched crops and killed livestock in the southern African nation, forcing the government to launch an emergency appeal for food from donors, reports Reuters.

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On Monday, the WFP representative in Zimbabwe, Eddie Rowe said the agency would move away from short-term food handouts to technical assistance to improve food security in the country.

A fruit vendor waits to sell his goods outside a bank in central Harare, Zimbabwe

“While maintaining strong humanitarian assistance, the WFP Zimbabwe’s new country strategic plan focuses on supporting longer-term national social protection and resilience efforts, strengthening the systems and institutions needed to help achieve zero hunger,” Rowe told reporters.

Rowe said the WFP planned to spend $53 million of the $253 million budget in 2017. The WFP says recurrent climate-related disasters, poverty, poor access to water, a fragile economic environment, liquidity challenges, low agricultural output, limited access to markets and HIV and AIDS are the major causes of hunger in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe expects to produce 3 million tons of grain this year following above normal rains and now expects higher economic growth than initial forecasts, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said last month.

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