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UN Says Zimbabwe Food Production Picks Up, But Vulnerabilities Remain


Food is more readily available in Zimbabwe due to a significantly improved 2009 harvest and liberalization of the marketplace, but many Zimbabweans are still finding it hard to meet their nutritional needs, according to two United Nations agencies focused on food.

The World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization report said a harvest of 1.4 million tonnes of maize this year, more than twice the size of last year harvest, has helped make basic food more widely available in the country.

Zimbabwe's adoption of hard currencies early this year has also helped increase food supplies - though the benefits of increased imports have not extended to many in rural areas.

The U.N. agencies said 2.8 million Zimbabweans risk facing hunger in the year ahead.

The WFP and FAO have urged the government and the international community to provide Zimbabwean farmers with inputs such as seed and fertilizer ahead of the next rainy season.

WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although maize production surged, the outlook for winter wheat is poor.

Agricultural consultant Roger Mpande said the farm production picture has improved, but much more needs to be done by the government and other stakeholders.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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