THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you for the opportunity to give a Ministerial Statement on the Government Food Deficit Mitigation Programme. My statement is largely in response to requests by some Hon. Members that we shed light on the structure and implementation framework of the programme.
We appreciate that the need for explaining has been prompted by disturbing allegations by various media that the Government Food Deficit Mitigation Programme is being run on partisan lines. It is therefore imperative that as I outline this programme, I also give an expose of how it is and has been running over the years.
The Food Deficit Mitigation Programme is a strategy that was adapted by Cabinet as part of the larger Drought Relief Management Programme to assist vulnerable households that include older persons, persons with disabilities, and the chronically ill and orphaned children with food hand-outs to mitigate the impact of drought. Each year, a crop and livestock assessment is carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development followed by rural livelihood assessment carried out by ZIMVAC.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is the reports of these assessments that form the basis of determining which areas are food insecure, by percentage of population, in order that the programme targets and registers beneficiaries from those areas.