Zimbabwe

ACT Appeal Zimbabwe: Drought relief - AFZW-21(Rev 3)

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Posted
Originally published

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Appeal Target: US$ 1,382,775
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 83,060

Geneva, March 12, 2003

Dear Colleagues,

Christian Care has revised their program as contained in their original appeal issued on 15 July, 2002. The changes include shift of geographical area of response from Umguza district to Lupane in Matebeleland province. The reason for changing from Umguza was that World Vision International moved into the district before CC could start their programs there. CC decided then to move to Lupane district which had equally a desperate food insecure population. The other change has been the additional number of children on supplementary feeding program. In the original proposal, the supplementary feeding was only for the under five children, but now the program has included primary school children of age between 6 and 13 years totalling 34,550. Other areas where changes have occurred include logistics, transport and personnel.

It must be said that whilst the food security situation in most countries in the Southern African region appears to be improving, food availability in Zimbabwe remains critical The SADC-supported National Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) Emergency Food Security Report (September 16 2002) estimated that 6.7 million people were in need of emergency food aid. A more recent Zimbabwe VAC report (20 December 2002) puts that figure at over 7.2 million. In order to avoid starvation, an estimated 345,000 MT of emergency cereal food imports needed to be secured through to March 2003.

Due to this scarcity of food, prices on the market have continued to soar with the rate of inflation officially reported to be in excess of 198% (and spiralling). For instance, in mid June 2002, the controlled price of maize meal was pegged at Z$17.50 per kilogram at the Grain Marketing Board.

Since August 2002 however, the price of maize on the black market has risen by 167% to an average Z$130 per kg, putting it beyond the reach of the poor majority (ZimVAC:Dec 2002). There have also been reported incidences of maize selling on the parallel market at Z$175.00 per kg and in rural areas where there are no substitutes for the staple maize meal, community coping strategies have been stretched to the limit.

Please note that this revision does not affect the programs of Lutheran Development Services (LDS) proposal which was revised on 9 October, 2002.

Project Completion Date: 31 May 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Appeal Target(s)
1,382,775
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
1,299,715
Balance Requested from ACT Network
83,060

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.

For further information: ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER

  • Christian Care, Zimbabwe
II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

Christian Care is an ecumenical and humanitarian organisation formed and owned by churches in Zimbabwe. The organisation's mission is to improve the quality of life and the self-supporting capacities of disadvantaged communities in Zimbabwe without discrimination (e.g. on the grounds of race, gender, political or religious affiliation nor ethnic identity). Christian Care's programs cover the whole country and this is done though five regional offices in Mutare (for Manicaland), Harare (for the 3 Mashonaland provinces), Gweru (for Midlands), Masvingo (for Masvingo province) and Bulawayo for (Matabeleland North and South provinces). The organisation has implemented both emergency relief and development programmes dating back to its formation in 1967.

Currently, Christian Care is one of the eleven implementing partners of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) emergency operation in Zimbabwe. The organisation is feeding 1,150,203 people in 19 districts spread over all Zimbabwean provinces.

Christian Care has sufficient capacity to implement further emergency aid in the other three regions that are not part of the present work with the WFP. In these regions there are area managers and/or regional co-ordinators who will assist Christian Care's National Co-ordinator with the supervision and management of the programme. This proposal seeks to assist communities in three districts that fall under the supervision of the Masvingo and Bulawayo regional offices. These two regional offices will implement the programme and are not part of the WFP emergency operation.

Christian Care intends to feed a total of 19,217 people, distribute seeds to 8,507 households and provide supplementary food to a total of 48,647 children up to the age of 13 years (under-5 and of primary school age) in specific wards in the three selected districts of Gutu, Lupane and Nkayi.

III. DESCRIPTION of the EMERGENCY SITUATION

Zimbabwe is facing a record food deficit where about 7.2 million people countrywide (at least 52% of the population) remain extremely food insecure. Eighty eight percent of this group (88%) live in rural areas of which the majority live in the communal areas. Included in this group are 496,000 ex-commercial farm workers struggling to find new livelihoods. (Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Report: 20 December 2002)

The food deficit is argued to have evolved from some of the following factors:

  • The extended and severe mid-season drought from December 2001 to March 2002, which decimated planted crops. This has so far ranked as the longest mid-season dry spell since 1921/22.

  • Lack of surplus food reserves at the time of the 2002 harvest, so that the new consumption year (April 2002 to March 2003) started when the granaries were already empty.

  • A strong down turn in the macro-economic environment, characterised by:
    • Hyper-inflation, currently exceeding 198% per annum.
    • High and rising unemployment, estimated at above 60%.
    • Lack of foreign currency reserves needed to import essential goods.
    • A rapidly shrinking national economy.
  • The 'Fast Track' land redistribution process, which saw the disruption of farming activities across both the smallholder and commercial sector.
The situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated since this Appeal was first launched in July 2002. In January 2003, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reports that a cereal deficit of 1 million MT is expected for the 2003/2004 consumption year. All reliable reports indicate that Zimbabwe does not have sufficient food to meet its consumption requirements until the harvest of 2003. Sporadic rainfall to date during this rainy season, declining economic conditions, poor access to farm inputs, depleting draught power and the high national rate of HIV/AIDS infection (national average of 33%) paints a bleak picture that raises serious doubts about a rapid recovery.

The Current Food Situation

Whilst the food security situation in most countries in the Southern African region appears to be improving, food availability in Zimbabwe remains critical The SADC-supported National Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) Emergency Food Security Report (September 16 2002) estimated that 6.7 million people were in need of emergency food aid. A more recent Zimbabwe VAC report (20 December 2002) puts that figure at over 7.2 million. In order to avoid starvation, an estimated 345,000 MT of emergency cereal food imports needed to be secured through to March 2003.

Due to this scarcity of food, prices on the market have continued to soar with the rate of inflation officially reported to be in excess of 198% (and spiralling). For instance, in mid June 2002, the controlled price of maize meal was pegged at Z$17.50 per kilogram at the Grain Marketing Board. Since August 2002 however, the price of maize on the black market has risen by 167% to an average Z$130 per kg, putting it beyond the reach of the poor majority (ZimVAC:Dec 2002). There have also been reported incidences of maize selling on the parallel market at Z$175.00 per kg and in rural areas where there are no substitutes for the staple maize meal, community coping strategies have been stretched to the limit.

Although a number of assistance programs have been initiated, largely dominated by the WFP and NGOs, these fall far short of the needs. According to FEWS NET (23 December 2002), 75% of rural households depend partly or entirely on subsidized maize. Supplies from the government's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) are erratic and in some districts, the GMB has been accused of actively discriminating against alleged opposition supporters. The ZimVAC report of 20 December states that 40% of the communities visited claimed that cereals were either "not or rarely" available from the GMB and/or market.

Distribution of GMB imports at the community level is inconsistent with reported maize imports at the national level that claims a surplus. Strained coping strategies, food and livestock prices and dietary intake support the conclusion that cereal is extremely unavailable at community level. Again, livestock prices and earnings from casual labour have fallen by 35-50% relative to the price of grain.

There has also been an increase in the death of livestock due to drought and disease and increased job losses have been reported across the country accompanied by a widespread reduction of remittances. Many households have resorted to life threatening and harmful income generating activities such as gold-panning, prostitution, theft and sale of any available household assets. An increasing number of households are also dependent on wild foods (fruits, leaves, roots, tubers and insects) as main meals.

Prospects for the 2002-2003 agricultural season are not very encouraging as only 38% of the areas planted last year have been planted this season. Severe shortages of inputs such as fertilizers, tillage and seed have hampered planting and the dry spell during the second half of November has worsened the situation. Added to this are the rampant fuel shortages, a parallel market exchange rate of over 2,700% more than the official rate and a GDP decline of 12% in 2002. (ZimVAC: 20 December 2002).

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