Implementing Agency: GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE MINISTRY OF FINANCE & ECON DEVELOPMENT
Location: Hurungwe, Gokwe
The overall objective of this emergency assistance is to complement efforts by Government and other donors to alleviate suffering of people affected by drought, conflict and cholera and to reduce food insecurity and dependence on food aid for 30,000 vulnerable households in the country. The assistance will support 30,000 communal households in Hurungwe, Gokwe North and South districts of Zimbabwe with agricultural inputs: (fertilizers, cereals and pulses) and extension services.
4.1.1Zimbabwe's food security situation is fragile and without resource mobilization and assistance from the international community, it will worsen the food shortage and deepen the food crisis the country is experiencing. Input supply, extension services and improved agricultural management practices remain critical for improved agricultural productivity and food security. 4.1.2Although the Government identified food security as a high priority in STERP, it does not have the capacity to fully provide for the required input supply for the agricultural sector and extension services and training. The Government therefore has requested for an emergency input assistance grant from the Bank for the 2009/10 summer cropping season which starts in September/October 2009.
1.2.1It is clear that Zimbabwe's agricultural sector will not quickly recover from the combined impact of three consecutive failed crop seasons, the impact of cholera and both internal and external population displacement without the mobilization of resources and assistance from the international community. The food emergency situation has continued into 2009, and according to FAO, it will worsen unless emergency humanitarian assistance is quickly mobilized. More importantly, the majority of Zimbabwe's population that has been displaced, affected by cholera or experienced crop failures due to drought do not have the necessary inputs to restart farming. 1.2.2Improving Zimbabwe's food security situation, particularly by supporting agricultural production during the 2009 winter wheat season, and 2009/10 summer cropping, is considered as one of the highest priorities in the recently developed Government's "Short Term Emergency Recovery Plan (STERP)". The emergency situation in Zimbabwe, however, is beyond the capacity of the Inclusive Government and its agencies to handle without significant support from the international community. For example, the emergency food imports in 2008 were two and a half times the country's total revenue. Moreover, agricultural productivity and quick recovery from the impact of the aforementioned emergency situations has been constrained by, among other things: (i) the high cost and shortages of agricultural inputs and (ii) poor agricultural extension services due to low capacity of government extension support. The shortage has been compounded by the flight of experienced farmers and the impact of HIV/AIDS. 1.2.3In this respect, in order to address the existing and expected food insecurity, necessary resources must be mobilized quickly. These include providing inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, chemicals and farming tools to targeted vulnerable households and training of extension workers and smallholder farmers in best agricultural practices including strengthening of extension services. This emergency relief will assist in restoring normalcy in the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe and contribute to improving the food security situation beginning with the avoidance of an impending food crisis. 1.2.4The lessons learned by donors supporting similar emergency programmes on food security in the last few seasons confirm that a large number of communal farmers can achieve food security and produce significant surplus from their land, if support is timely and appropriate . The Bank's emergency input assistance will provide inputs to 30,000 vulnerable households in the targeted communal areas to cultivate 15,000 ha of cereals and pulses. This will increase the current cereal production of the targeted farmers by 22,500mt of cereals and pulses at an estimated average yield of 1.5mt per ha. 1.2.5The Bank received the Government's request for assistance on 5 May 2009. The Government of Zimbabwe had, in December 2008, requested and was provided a grant of US$ 1.00 million to support efforts to control and avert cholera outbreaks. It was approved by the Board in January 2009. The current request is to support vulnerable households affected by drought in the past seasons, internal displacement and cholera, to access agricultural inputs (seeds and fertilizers) in the coming 2009/2010 agricultural season. The request falls under the following emergency criteria items: (i) emergency situation arising from Natural Disasters - droughts, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanoes, and crop pest invasions (which may also cover disease pandemic such as cholera); and (iii) emergency situations arising from Conflicts - wars, border disputes, civil strife or other political events that cause social and /or economic disruption and hardship.