The country’s food security situation has improved significantly since 2009; however, gains made over the past two years are fragile. In order to successfully and sustainably increase food security of vulnerable populations and mitigate the impact of social, political economic and climatic shocks, USAID is working toward reducing poverty and under-nutrition through improved economic performance of the agricultural sector and increased rural and smallholder incomes.
USAID/Zimbabwe’s food security programs are designed to transition assistance from short-term food aid to longer-term developmental food security and income generation activities. Programs focus on improving the enabling environment for food security, increasing the productivity of households and small and medium sized enterprises, and increasing the resilience of vulnerable households and communities.
Building Long Term Economic Stability
To help Zimbabweans transition from emergency humanitarian aid towards long term economic stability, USAID’s interventions promote agricultural recovery and livelihood development. The aim of President Obama’s Global Feed the Future initiative is to reduce poverty and malnutrition, increase food security, and enhance economic recovery. To achieve this, USAID works with both the private sector and civil society to rebuild deteriorated extension services and provide training and support for small-scale farmers, particularly in drought prone areas.
Since 2010, USAID has assisted over 61,000 smallholder farmers each year. Sales by USAID-supported smallholder beneficiaries have also grown in the past four years by over $62 million, including agricultural products such as bananas and chili peppers.
USAID programs also promote private sector growth and job creation by building the capacities of farmers’ unions and trade associations to influence policy dialogue and decisions. For example, with USAID support, the private sector successfully lobbied for the removal of value-added tax on soya beans, a key animal feed component.
Development Food Assistance
In 2014, USAID/Zimbabwe launched a $100 million project to support activities addressing the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas with the aim of improving resilience and reducing future humanitarian food needs. For example, projects work to improve the health of more than 220,000 women of reproductive age and children under the age of five through supplementary food assistance, health and nutrition training, and improved water and sanitation systems.
Emergency Seasonal Assistance
USAID supports seasonal food assistance on an emergency basis between October and March, the hunger season in Zimbabwe. USAID distributes locally and regionally sourced foods including grains, legumes, and oil to people in rural areas that have exhausted their own production, have limited income-earning opportunities, and are struggling to buy food as prices continue to rise. The program also provides cash transfers for food purchases where food is available in local markets.
Last updated: September 12, 2014