Zimbabwe Short on Food, Gas, Homes, & Blood!
Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, is facing its worst agricultural season since independence in 1980, with shortages of seed, fertilizer and equipment threatening next year’s harvest before it even has been planted, farmers and other experts said.
Some of those warnings were issued Tuesday in testimony before Parliament’s agriculture committee, the state-run Herald newspaper and ruling party-allied Daily Mirror reported.
Fertilizer companies told the committee their warehouses were empty. The Zimbabwe Seed Traders Association said there was only 28,660 tons of maize seed in the country, slightly more than half of what is needed.
The Agricultural Dealers and Manufacturers’ Association has run out of plow disks for the first time in its history. There also are key shortages of irrigation piping, pumps, pesticides and other chemicals, suppliers said.
“The information you have given us simply shows that there is no season,” committee chairman Walter Mzembi was quoted as saying.
The seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, combined with years of drought, have crippled Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy. About 4 million people will need food aid before the next harvest in what was once a regional breadbasket, according to U.N. estimates.
A privately-run newspaper said scores of bodies had not been collected from provincial hospitals in Bindura, Marondera and Masvingo, among others.
At least 51 corpses are lying in the mortuary at Masvingo Provincial Hospital in southern Zimbabwe, despite the fact it is only supposed to hold a maximum of 17 bodies, the paper said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst fuel crisis ever. Almost all fuel stations have run dry, and only motorists with access to foreign currency are allowed to purchase fuel coupons at five stations still serving the precious commodity.
In rural areas, long lines of dusty cars sit outside fuel stations for days, waiting for a possible fuel delivery.
The National Blood Transfusion Service said regular donors had moved away and were unreachable after their houses were demolished in urban slum areas.
The school holidays were also blamed for the shortage as children make up 75% of those who donate blood.
Some 700,000 people were left without homes or jobs in Operations Drive Out Rubbish and Restore Order, the UN says.
The Vice President did say that those who lost their homes back in May would be given priority when the housing program is launched. This was announced after the homes were already destroyed by the government.
“Preference should be given to those who had their houses destroyed during the clean-up operation,” Joseph Msika said as he toured a building site at Whitecliff Farm in Harare in comments reported by the state-controlled Herald newspaper.
Msika said new houses should not be allocated on the basis of political affiliation.
“It does not matter whether one belongs to the MDC (opposition Movement for Democratic Change party) or Zanu-PF (the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front). We are Zimbabweans and everyone should benefit,” he said.