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Village business units reduce impact of drought

Story by Mercy Bofu-Matinha

A joint mission of the African Union, United Nations and Southern African Development Community is in the country to craft and assess drought mitigatory measures in Zimbabwe visited Masvingo this Saturday.

The joint mission started by engaging the Provincial Disaster Risk Management Committee before a field visit to communities around Masvingo.

The discussions were centered on the impact of drought in the province where it was revealed that Masvingo experienced 65 per cent food deficit this season and 72 per cent of the provincial herd is currently at risk.

Government and developmental partners are implementing various mitigatory measures and communities are hopeful about the future.

“We are happy that in our villages are becoming productive. Now we are able to grow vegetables for commercial purposes. We also have fish ponds for nutritional purposes,” said a beneficiary.

The village business units have also proved to be a game-changer in rural communities.

“We are seeing the UNDRR, African Union and SADC responding to the declaration by President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the El-Nino-induced drought state of disaster. We have come to Masvingo such that they see what we are doing as part of resilience building. The concept of rural industrialisation anchored on village business units is proving that it will drive the livelihoods of our people in all the 35 000 villages in the country,” noted Chief Director Civil Protection, Mr Nathan Nkomo.

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honorable Ezra Chadzamira weighed in, “Yes as a province we have not been spared by the current drought especially in rural communities, however currently nearly 1 million are receiving grain under the food aid programme while we are expediting the irrigation development and borehole sinking programmes among other efforts.”

Speaking after an interface with villagers, the head of delegation Mr Aboubacar Diane applauded government for its local response strategies, “The initiatives developed by the government to support the communities to alleviate the impact of drought are commendable. By creating these village business units it’s a good initiative and it contributes to the building of resilience of the community.”

The visit comes at a time when over 61 million people throughout the SADC region are affected by the El Niño-induced drought.

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