Friday, March 12, 2010

Gap between the rich, poor saddens WFP

Gap between the rich, poor saddens WFP
By Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Fri 12 Mar. 2010, 07:00 CAT

WORLD Food Programme (WFP) country director Pablo Recalde has observed that there is a lot of poverty in Zambia because of the unevenly distribution of wealth between the poor and the rich.

In an interview after the launch of the WFP food voucher programme in Ndola at Mukuba Hotel yesterday, Recalde said WFP hoped to turn the poor in Zambia into an investment power to lead the charge towards long term sustainable growth.

“There is a lot of poverty in Zambia because of a combination of factors. Zambia has got poverty mainly because the poor cannot access wealth. There is a big margin between the poor and the rich, we have very poor people and very rich people. In short there is unevenly distribution of wealth,” Recalde said.

“On top of that, there is no diversification. Zambia depends more on copper that does not produce a lot of employment. Agriculture is important in a country and if there is diversification, poverty levels in the country can reduce. Zambia has got land that can be used for agriculture so that there is food security in the country.”

He said there was need to break the cycle of poverty in Zambia by concentrating on agricultural activities.

Recalde said Zambia’s economy improved last year because a lot of attention was put on agriculture.

“WFP has transitioned from being just a food aid agency to a food assistance agency fighting hunger worldwide, looking for long-term solutions to the hunger problem that affects more than a billion people worldwide.

As WFP we seek to leverage our hunger response to provide sustainable livelihoods and a future to the poor and the hungry, we are hoping to turn the poor into an investment power to lead the charge towards long term sustainable growth,” he said.

Recalde said WFP had introduced a programme that would sustain the livelihoods of people and solutions to hunger called SLASH that aimed at delivering food based solutions such as food vouchers as a social safety net in areas where access to staple food commodities amongst the vulnerable poor was highly affected by poverty, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.

He said the United Nations through WFP was currently assisting over 3,000 households in Ndola with food through the food voucher programme.

Reclade said WFP’s goal was to ensure that Zambia was food secure.

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