The World Food Programme (WFP) has set aside $72 million to fight hunger and boost food nutrition in Zimbabwe in 2018, representative and country director Eddie Rowe said Wednesday.
The funds are coming under the UN agency’s $255 million five-year country strategic plan (CSP) it jointly launched with the Zimbabwe government in 2017.
At least $53 million was budgeted for 2017.
Mr Rowe said they may increase the budget next year to enable the government to assist many vulnerable people due to anticipated low yields in 2018.
“We are looking at the situation because the initial indications of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) are that we might have relatively low yields.
“This means the food insecure households would increase so there is a possibility that next year we might have to increase our budget so that we reach many people who would require assistance,” Mr Rowe said in a statement.
He said under the CSP, the WFP was now trying to get donors to consider multi-year funding as opposed to the past when it mobilised resources every year.
“So far only two donors have given us three-year funding. On average, the CSP would require about 55 million dollars to implement all activities and as we speak now we have received about 55 percent of our funding for this year,” he said.
He added that as a result of the multi-year funding, the WFP had already received about 25 percent of next year’s required assistance.
Mr Rowe said 100,000 people benefited from the WFP’s resilience programmes in 2017 and the agency was targeting to scale up the number of beneficiaries to 130,000 this year.
Zimbabwe has in recent years experienced erratic weather patterns that have left many people in need of food aid.
The country experienced an El Nino-induced drought in the 2015/16 farming season, which left a quarter of the rural population in need of food aid.