The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has revealed that hunger has become a reality in most communal households.
According to the ZELA COVID-19 Agricultural Sector Update ,communal farmers did not harvest a lot from the previous harvesting session hence their greatest worry during the shutdown is hunger.
“The previous harvesting season was not good , people are starving .It is hard to find basic food such as mealie meal in the stores ,” said Malaba from Matobo.(quoted in the report).
According to the report, most nutrition gardens and community gardens that also have irrigation services have been closed in most areas.
“Farmers in Matobo and Insiza have indicated that the gardens have been closed because there are no Isolation centres in Insiza and Matobo hence the community leaders are not taking any risks.
“In Bikita the farmers are adhering to the lockdown and no agricultural activity is being done, reads the report.
The report also revealed that most farmers are practising social distancing but that has proven to be a challenge as people do not fully appreciate and understand implications of the COVID-19.
“There has been a deliberate effort by the local health workers and the Rural District Councils to educate the farmers on the COVID-19 on what measures can be put in place to reduce the spread of the virus, in Matobo, Insiza and Uzumba.
“Social media has played a huge role in information dissemination on the COVID-19 not withstanding that some of the information spread through this platform is not authentic. “Farmers in Insiza and Matobo have limited access to the PPE required to protect one ‘self from the COVID-19.
“Most are practising social distancing but that has proven to be a challenge as people do not fully appreciate and understand implications of the COVID-19,” reads part of the report.
Meanwhile, the 2020 tobacco marketing season which was scheduled to open yesterday has been postponed to allow stakeholders to devise mechanisms to sell the crop while ensuring minimum risks of spreading the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro while addressing stakeholders in the tobacco sector at an online mock sale of the crop.