EXAMINING THE ROLE OF FOOD AID AT COMMUNITY LEVEL: INSIGHTS FROM MASVINGO PROVINCE, ZIMBABWE

Fadzai Chipato, Libin Wang

Abstract


The paper makes an analysis of two food aid initiatives in Zaka district, Masvingo province Zimbabwe. It seeks to unveil food assistance’s importance at the community level. Food assistance is a response to a broken and flawed food system in the country. Agriculture, food production and food distribution are affected by unpredictable weather patterns and a declining economy. Utilizing qualitative research methodology, the paper argues that food assistance has variegated impacts at local level depending on the nature of assistance administered. Each type of assistance resulted in different socioeconomic impacts at the community level. Free food assistance plays an important role as a short-term cushion and buffer but the handouts are not enough for long-term upward mobility. Free food assistance beneficiaries managed to explore other livelihood options without worrying about the next meal. Furthermore, the basket received was deemed enough to cover the whole month with the help of other sources of food. On the other hand, productive assets creation is an important intervention and coping strategy during the lean season it creates positive dependence amongst the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of productive assets creation have a wide range of livelihood options, which translate to positive livelihood outcomes. Productive assets creation is responsible for the increase in human and physical capital. The paper further argues that politics and other structural forces inhibit food assistance from reaching the intended beneficiaries.

 

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food assistance; food aid; dependency; livelihoods; Zimbabwe

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References


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