The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is planning a food aid program to target 3.8 million people in Zimbabwe starting in October as the effects of a bad harvest and the war in Ukraine continue, an official said.

The southern African country has been struggling to feed itself since 2000, when former leader Robert Mugabe backed the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless black people.

Zimbabwe’s government said it expects this year’s staple maize crop to nearly halve to 1.56 million tonnes from last season’s long-term record of 2.72 million tonnes due to lack of rainfall in the 2021-22 growing season.

Every year, the country requires 2.2 million tons of corn for human and livestock consumption.

The WFP said it had budgeted $40 million for a food aid program to alleviate millions of people during the peak season of hunger, from October, when poor families run out of food supplies, to March, when the harvest begins.

“I don’t think it’s hunger yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. We are preparing for the response which will start from October to March. We are working with the government on a joint program plan to reduce food insecurity, and this is for 3.8 million people,” said WFP Country Representative Francesca Erdelman. Reuters.

She said the number of food insecure people had risen from 2.9 million to 3.8 million, warning that more households could go hungry as grain stocks dwindle.

Rising food prices, combined with higher fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sent inflation in Zimbabwe soaring from 61% in January to 285% in August, undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to revive the country’s economy.

In a video from two months ago, it is reported that Zimbabwe is being added to the list of countries where there is a famine:

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