The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned that Zimbabwe faces a “widespread and severe food security crisis” if the government doesn’t meet grain import targets or if international food aid is delayed in the next few months.
FEWSNET also notes that while a million people in urban areas are at risk of going hungry, there is relatively little food aid in the cities now or on the boards.
The U.S.-based agency says the recent flow of cereals from Malawi has helped to improve conditions and that there is enough food in the country to meet demand – but says the Grain Marketing Board is unable to get food to all the places it is needed.
FEWSNET said conditions should improve marginally through December because of food aid flows now reaching the country. But it warns that conditions could deteriorate again between January and March as the "hunger season" reaches its peak.
Food experts say about four million Zimbabweans, roughly a quarter of the country's population, face hunger between now and the next harvest in April.
Agriculture secretary Renson Gasela of the opposition faction headed by Arthur Mutambara told reporter Patience Rusere that he disagrees with FEWSNET because from his observations, hunger has been on the rise even in the past month.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...