By Wallace Mawire
On International day of South-South Cooperation (12 September), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) acknowledges the Global south’s important contribution to alleviate food insecurity and malnutrition in Zimbabwe. The Governments of Brazil, China, India and South Africa, have provided tangible transfer of information, resources and expertise to Zimbabwe over the past years, successfully administered through WFP, to support food security and nutrition in Zimbabwe.
The sharing of expertise that connects farmers to technology has been vital to support business development through e-commerce. China-Aid Agricultural Technology and Demonstration Centre led the exchange in partnership with Knowledge Transfer Africa (eMkambo), supporting up to 500 smallholder farmers with marketing and horticulture training. Additionally, several farmers and Agritex officers (government officers within the Ministry of Agriculture) were supported through a trainer programme, to ensure longevity of the project.
India’s recent contribution through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund focuses on climate change mitigation in Zimbabwe. Farmers will be trained on the advantages of growing drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum or millet, including techniques on how to reduce post-harvest losses. The programme aims to assist around 5,200 smallholder farmers in Chiredzi and Mangwe districts over the coming months.
Similarly, the Government of South Africa donated maize meal to assist families affected by Cyclone Idai in 2019. WFP provided warehousing services to facilitate this partnership. “Cyclone Idai was said to be the worst tropical cyclone on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. It is in this regard that when Zimbabwe was one of the countries that were affected in our region in March 2019, the Government of South Africa immediately mobilized resources and pledged our joined support to the affected communities.”, said Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, when handing over food aid to Zimbabwe. “As a close neighbour and regional member, South Africa has focused on supporting a humanitarian response to Zimbabwe in the face of natural disasters“, he added.
Through WFP’s Centre of Excellence, Brazil provides research and policy support to homegrown school feeding programmes, which harness a range of elements including education, health, social protection and agriculture.
“We aim to work more closely with our partners to build the skills needed, so that Zimbabwe is able to meet its Agenda 2030 commitments “, said Ms. Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Zimbabwe Country Director and Representative. “Specifically, WFP aims to enhance market linkages between smallholder farmers and strengthen the capacity of national authorities. South-South Cooperation is key to this strategy, and we are determined to unlock its full potential,” she added.
In close collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, WFP is currently developing its 2022-2027 Country Strategic Plan, which will promote further collaboration with the aim of establishing sustainable, resilient and shock responsive social protection programmes with a food systems lens.
Agriculture accounts for up to seventy percent of the populations’ livelihood activity in Zimbabwe, which makes it critical to find optimal techniques to grow food sustainably and connect local supply to markets. Middle and low-income countries possess a rich trove of knowledge that can be shared and adapted to overcome development challenges.