A new U.N. programme in Zimbabwe is helping farmers fight the impact of an El Nino induced drought. Kirsty Basset reports.
The worst drought to hit Zimbabwe since 1992 has left 4 million Zimbabweans without food. A state of disaster has been declared in many rural parts of the country as the output of staples like maize has suffered. The World Food Programme is hoping a high tech monitoring program will help minimise the impact. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROGERIO BONIFACIO, CLIMATE ANALYST, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (WFP), SAYING: "Sentinel2 is a brand new satellite that provides very high resolution data with a very high frequency of observation. And what this does is to allow us to better estimate the impacts of El Niño on crop production planted areas and likely agricultural outcomes." Farmers taking part in the program have been given drought-tolerant seeds and training in climate-smart agriculture. (SOUNDBITE) (Shona) CHIGOPHO, FARMER, SAYING: "Food secure programme has helped us; it will assist in reducing hunger. If you compare the crop I had on the farm and the one I have now, there is big difference. Now that I'm practicing conservation agriculture it shows that I will harvest far more than I did before. Even a smallholder can conserve water and soil and harvest. So for me this is a good programme." The devastating drought has not only ravaged the people and the landscape. In a country that has struggled to rebuild its economy after a decade-long collapse that started in 2000, the drought has made Zimbabwe's economic problems even worse.