Three million Zimbabweans will need food aid, parliament hears
The report is unlikely to please President Robert Mugabe's government, which is keen to see the agricultural sector recover after more than three years of reduced harvests.
"A large number of the population is failing to cope on food," said Fambai Ngirande from the National Association of Non-governmental Organisations (NANGO), speaking to a parliamentary committee on public service, labour and social welfare.
Ngirande's comments were carried in the state-run Herald newspaper.
Most of those in need are in Zimbabwe's rural areas and aid groups will bring in 300,000 tonnes of food to help the authorities feed those in need, said the newspaper.
Another aid worker, Forbes Matonga of Christian Care explained that charities were finding it "difficult to operate" because of record inflation levels of more than 913.6 percent and the government's controlled exchange rate.
The fixed rate of exchange for the US dollar - much less than half the amount the greenback goes for on the streets - makes imports extremely expensive.
The authorities blame the repeated crop failures in Zimbabwe over the past few years on drought, though critics say the reduced production may have something to do with a controversial programme of land seizures from white farmers.
There have been hopes that better rains this year may see an improvement in production, although farmers have warned that the high cost of inputs and shortages of vital fertiliser is crippling their operations. dpa rt cb
Copyright (c) dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH