The Politics of Food


The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum), and the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) commissioned a study on the political economy of food aid distribution and the right to food in Zimbabwe. The aim of the study is to provide a holistic analysis of the factors and dynamics impacting the right to food in Zimbabwe, particularly focusing on the extent to which partisan distribution of food has impacted on the right to food and related rights such as human dignity and the right to life.

The study report provides insight into the following:

1. The broad factors which affect the availability and accessibility of food in general. These include agricultural policies, climate change, agrarian reforms, economic, social and political stability, etc.

2. The political economy of food and food aid in Zimbabwe – i.e. the political, economic and social factors that impact the availability and accessibility of food and food aid.

3. The nature and dynamics of the food aid distribution matrix, the role of various stakeholders in the distribution chain and the resultant impact on the right to food.

4. The institutional and regulatory framework relevant to the realization of the right to food. This includes domestic, regional and international protocols.

5. Detailed and holistic recommendations on reforms and measures to be taken to promote the progressive realization of the right to food in Zimbabwe.

The right to food is all-encompassing as it is central to life, dignity and humanity. Without access to food, citizens are subjected to stress, malnutrition, diseases and they cannot meaningfully participate in civic processes. The recurring food insecurity crisis in Zimbabwe has placed millions of people in a perennial state of deprivation. Vulnerable families have had to borrow money, spend savings, sell productive assets, withdraw children from school, reduce non-food expenditure, sell land, beg for food, sell the last breeding stock to buy food and sell more livestock than usual. Failure to realise the right to food therefore impoverishes families.

The country faces perennial hunger and malnutrition challenges. For millions of people, food is not always available, they lack access to adequate food, and they do not have the capacity to afford a basic balanced diet, even though the government has put in place a raft of food and nutrition policy and institutional frameworks anchored on human rights.

The study report is organised as follows: the first section discusses the food insecurity situation in the country. The second section unpacks the domestic, regional and international frameworks on the right to food. The third section unpacks the food aid distribution matrix. The fourth section discusses the conflation of food aid, politics and elections and how this impacts the right to food. The final section is the conclusion and recommendations.

Read the full report here (4MB PDF)

Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project

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