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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Call for experiences and effective policy approaches in addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics

Edward Mutandwa
Edward MutandwaUZZimbabwe

Dear FSN members,

I appreciate the insightful and interesting comments posted by colleagues hitherto. Obviously,  a one-size-fits all policy approach cannot work for different countries because of inherent differences in the context (political, socioeconomic and institutional), geographical and historical factors. Historically, in the case of Zimbabwe, it had become crystal clear that the skewed distribution of land was impeding the achievement of an equitable food secure nation. This justified a need to redress fundamental land ownership issues across different classes of the society through the land reform. To revamp the fledging productivity in agriculture, the government has recently introduced a command policy approach, whereby a set of farmers are selected on the basis of different criteria such as land size, previous production levels and marketed sales. These farmers are supplied requisite inputs, given production targets for specific crops-this year maize. It does seem like such a program has been successful in the short-run because of the follow-up extension given to farmers (innovation). Productivity gains are likely to have a positive spill-over effect on food security and nutrition. I am also of the opinion that a similar command urban agriculture will be hepful in solving food insecurity in urban areas. Such an approach has also been proposed for livestock and forestry where farmers will be given specific targets to achieve in their livestock systems. In addition, farmers may be required to implement specifc types of woodlots which are consistent with a national forest management strategy. This is expected to redress environmental degradation and climate change in the long-run. Nonetheless, the sustainability of the approach is not clear, given that it may require a continuous flow of subsidy from the government.