Zimbabwe government has appealed to local businesses and charities for $1.5 billion to fight hunger that has stalked most parts of the southern African country.
“The government of Zimbabwe needs a total of 1.5 dollars between February and December,” vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa told a press conference in Harare on Tuesday, adding that he would have to import 1.5 million tonnes of maize to feed the population.
Zimbabwe has been affected by a regional drought worsened by the El Nino weather phenomenon that has also affected other southern African countries, including South Africa, Malawi and Zambia.
The vice president also said some of the $ 1.5 billion would be used to repair irrigation facilities across the country to increase food production.
Once regarded as southern Africa’s breadbasket, Zimbabwe has experienced erratic rains over the years, forcing grain imports from neighboring countries for the sustenance of its populace.
However, critics blame the situation on Zimbabwe’s agrarian reforms adopted in early 2000s, that resulted in the expulsion of white farmers and redistribution of land.
The government has however promised to do an audit to verify that the lands are well cultivated.