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Saturday, February 08, 2020
Food Rots- People Starve
While the country is experiencing massive food shortages, many vendors say they are forced to throw rotting vegetables away as people don’t have the money to purchase their goods any longer.
Piles and piles of rotting vegetables at food markets situated right in Zimbabwe’s central business district would elsewhere be viewed as a sign of plenty. But the nation has not been spared the irony of food wastage at a time of food shortages.
In Bulawayo’s sprawling vegetable market in the CBD, which provides a livelihood for hundreds of vendors, rotting vegetables have become the norm. This is happening at a time vendors say there is a shortage of vegetables that range from staples such as African kale, cabbages and tomatoes, and whose shortages have pushed up prices.
“We cannot give away the vegetables just because we fear they will rot,” said Mihla Hadebe, who sells anything from tomatoes to cabbages to mangoes and cucumbers. "Even if we lower prices, people just do not have money that is why you see a lot of vegetables rotting like this,” Hadebe told IPS
“In Zimbabwe, nearly 1 in 3 children under five are suffering from malnutrition, while 93 per cent of children between 6 months and 2 years of age are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet,” James Maiden, UNICEF Zimbabwe spokesperson told IPS. “Across the country about 34,000 children are critically suffering from acute malnutrition,” Maiden said.
Zimbabwe is one of many countries that have seen record high temperatures, throwing agriculture activity into uncertainty as food insecurity worsens. This has worsened everyday diets amid poor salaries despite full supermarkets in a country that falls under sub-Saharan African region where the Food Sustainability Index says is home to the world’s hungriest populations.
The World Food Programme (WFP) says the number of people requiring food assistance continues to rise in Zimbabwe, stating that half the population — nearly 8 million people — is now facing food insecurity. It has also raised concerns about under-nourishment for both children and adults.
Nathan Hayes, an analyst with the EIU, believes the country has been slow in responding to the food and nutrition crisis.
“Making matters worse, poor rains have exacerbated the food crisis. This ongoing economic crisis means that social safety nets have been cut, leaving many families vulnerable and unable to afford sufficient food each day,” Hayes explained.