World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of people needing food aid in Zimbabwe will rise by 60 percent this year to 1.6 million, the World Food Programme said on Friday, citing an annual assessment carried out by the United Nations and the Zimbabwean government.
A poor farming season this year is blamed on erratic rainfall and limited access to seeds and fertilisers, which prompted Finance Minister Tendai Biti to cut the 2012 growth forecast to 5.6 percent from 9.4 percent.
Zimbabwe harvested 1.077 million tonnes of cereals in the 2011/12 season, down by one-third from the previous season and the lowest since 2009 when a unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai helped revive a sinking economy.
Nearly one in five rural people in the southern African state will need food aid during the peak of next year's "hunger season", which runs from January to March when new crops are not ready for harvest, the WFP said in a statement.
"Our field staff are already reporting signs of distress in rural areas, including empty granaries and farmers selling off their livestock to make ends meet," said Felix Bamezon, the WFP country director.
In December the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 1.45 million would needfood aid.
Biti said last week that agriculture production for the 2011/2012 season had fallen 5.8 percent, leaving a grain deficit of 445,000 tonnes, which would be partly met through imports by the private sector.
The WFP said it would import cereals from neighbouring countries to distribute in rural Zimbabwe but would also hand out cash in some areas to allow people to buy their own cereals.
Donald Trump reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president on Thursday,
'In all touristic towns, there is a slight recovery,' tourism minister says
German chancellor says canceling sanction against Russia may harm the G7's credibility
European Commission head warns a G7 summit with politicians such as Trump, Le Pen, Boris Johnson, Beppe Grillo would be 'a horror scenario that shows well why it is worth fighting populism'
US president believes the armed group's violence will continue despite new leadership
'If he meant returning Donbas for humanitarian reasons, this statement can be supported,' Kremlin spokesman says
Foreign Minister Lavrov says 'it is in the interests of Islam to ensure unity of all its branches'
If he succeeds Ban Ki-moon in January 2017, Lancak would be the first Easter European UN chief
Turkish TIKA agency reveals support for over 2,000 people fleeing Boko Haram insurgency
'Food supplies are limited and tightly controlled; medicines are exhausted and many families have no choice but to rely on dirty and unsafe water sources' in the ISIL-occupied city
'A rightful position of the Old Continent in the new international realities can only be secured by combining capacities of all European countries, including Russia,' Russian presdient says
Unless new economic resources are found, economic growth will stay near zero percent, warns Russian president
France hit with numerous workers strikes, are now dipping into its strategic oil reserves due to blockades at refineries with nuclear power workers threatened to join gathering protests against a labour law reform.
Anastasiades cancelled scheduled peace talks and cut short a visit to Turkey on Tuesday after a United Nations summit treated the rival Turkish Cypriot leader as a head of state.
Safety of civilians and purging Fallujah city of Daesh terrorists important, al-Abadi says
As internal EU opposition against sanctions grows, 'to find a common position on this issue,' German foreign minister says