Date: November 2nd 2011
Solidarity Peace Trust
Release of new report: "Hard Times" Matabeleland: urban deindustrialization - and rural hunger
Nationally, Zimbabwe is more food secure at the end of 2011 than it has been for several years. However, parts of Zimbabwe suffered serious crop failure earlier this year and a million people are still predicted to need supplementary feeding. In Gwanda, Matabeleland South, the authors found that almost half of households indicated a day without food in the recent past. Only 17% of families reported eating three meals a day, meaning that 83% of households were, weeks before the onset of the official "hungry season in October", already making food compromises daily. Grazing is critical, and people are traveling further to find water. This has been one of the hottest Octobers on record. Several families reported that baboons were killing and eating young goats and chickens, as the hunger now affects all living creatures in this area. Several families had no livestock left at all, not even one chicken.
Of concern by the end of October, is that supplementary feeding has not yet started, nor has the distribution of seed, yet the first rains have arrived. If people are to avoid yet another season of crop failure, there is an urgent need for free agricultural inputs to roll out now. Furthermore, many families are in desperate need of food now.
Deindustrialization in Bulawayo
This hunger â already so extreme ahead of the recognized "peak hunger season" that officially lasts from October to February â is taking place at a time when Bulawayo, traditionally the source of employment and resources for Matabeleland, has seen a cataclysmic loss of jobs in industry in the last two years. This means that part of the greater support system for rural Matabeleland is highly compromised. The report traces the recent economic history of the region, and efforts to regenerate industry.
As deportations from South Africa gain momentum, the 17% of rural families that receive monthly remittances stand to lose this little extra means of support. All families with members in the diaspora will have extra mouths to feed during the hungriest months of the year, as or when the deportees return. Deportees to Zimbabwe have little likelihood of finding formal, productive employment and will merely exacerbate the plight of struggling households.
In addition to recommending urgent provision of both food and seeds, the authors make recommendations that include the following:
"Hard Times" Matabeleland: urban deindustrialization - and rural hunger is available in pdf format on our website (3.1MB). Please visit this link to download the report.
For requests for interviews, please email
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy Director, Solidarity Peace Trust
Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869
<< Previous: Some Perceptions on the Poverty Question in Zimbabwe
| Archive Index |