JOHANNESBURG, 4 October (IRIN) - Poor rural households in drought-ravaged southern Zimbabwe have exhausted their food stocks and are resorting to eating wild roots in a bid to stave off hunger.
Erratic supplies by the state's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the lack of essential commodities in rural shops have combined to undermine food security in the semi-arid Matabeleland region, aid workers told IRIN.
In the district of Tsholotsho, in Matabeleland North province, 49-year-old widow Sharon Mpofu said she was foraging for wild roots, identified as fit for consumption by an elder of the San clan from her village, to feed her two children. The San are renowned for their survival skills.
The family had also begun to reap the rewards of a small community vegetable garden, established as part of the NGO Christian Care's irrigation and self-sufficiency programme...
(Note: The san tribe are "bushmen", so not members of the ruling Shona tribe)
The World Food Programme (WFP) received written authorisation from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to begin food distributions to targeted vulnerable groups in 49 districts around the country on 29 September.