Government assures free transportation for food aid

Staff Reporter

Government has firmly reiterated that beneficiaries of its food aid programme are not required to pay for the transportation of grain.

This announcement comes in response to reports that some local councillors were unlawfully charging beneficiaries between US$2 and US$5 to transport grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots to ward collection centres.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works addressed all provincial directors of local Government services, emphasising that all transportation costs for delivering food aid have already been covered by the Government.

“Please be advised that transportation of grain from the Grain Marketing Board depots to various food distribution points close to the wards will be paid for by the Government, and also the cost of bringing food aid to the food insecure households will also be met by the Government. Accordingly, no beneficiaries should be asked to pay for this service,” reads the circular from the Ministry.

The directive was warmly received by beneficiaries who have expressed their relief and gratitude.

"This decision is a huge relief for many of us who struggle to make ends meet. Knowing that we don't have to pay extra just to receive aid is a big help," said Marita Chikuni, a beneficiary from Masvingo.

Another resident, Tonderai Moyo from Bulawayo, said that the Government’s directive shows that it cares for its people.

"Government's move to cover all costs shows that they are truly committed to helping us through these tough times. It’s reassuring to see actions being taken to ensure that aid reaches those who need it most without additional burdens,” said Moyo.

Since the declaration of a State of National Disaster by President Mnangagwa last month, following an El Niño-induced subdued rainfall pattern that resulted in a significant food deficit, Government has been proactive in mobilising resources to assist its citizens.

To date, numerous households across the country are benefiting from this initiative, which aims to alleviate the impact of the food crisis on vulnerable communities.

Meanwhile, Government’s firm stance on not charging beneficiaries for the transportation of food aid is a step towards ensuring that the distribution process remains fair and efficient, allowing those in need to access aid without unnecessary financial strain.