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Household Economy Assessment: Nyaminyami (Kariba Rural) District - Save the Children Report, 21 June 2002

 
1. INTRODUCTION

Kariba rural or Nyaminyami district is ranked as the least developed district in all of Zimbabwe.1 It is bordered to the west by Lake Kariba, to the south by Binga district, by Gokwe North to the east, and by Hurungwe to the north and north-east. There are no tarred roads in the district, and the unsurfaced roads are subject to serious deterioration during the rainy season. The centre for the district is Siakobvu, where the Nyaminyami Rural District Council offices are housed. The nearest major towns are Karoi and Gokwe, both approximately 3 hours drive away. Due to the state of the roads, it takes 4-5 hours to reach Kariba town. The poor infrastructure makes Nyaminyami one of the most isolated parts of the country.

The district is comprised of one large communal area (CA), Omay, within which the majority of the population live, and two smaller CAs, GacheGache and Kanyati. There is a large game area in the centre of the district, Matusadona Game Park. Those areas closest to the park are particularly prone to crop loss due to wildlife. The district is divided into 15 administrative wards. In Omay, the majority of the population is Tonga, while Kanyati and GacheGache have a mixture of Tonga and Shona.

Most of the land of Nyaminymami is categorised as Natural Regions IV and V, i.e. suitable for semi-extensive and extensive farming only, with low levels of rainfall. Parts of Kanyati fall under NR III, making it the most agriculturally productive part of the district. Generally in Nyaminyami, households rely upon a combination of food and cash crop cultivation, and casual employment in and out of the district. Nyaminyami is a grain-importing area on balance, and local production that is marketed tends to be sold on the local market rather than to external traders. The same principle is true for livestock, which are generally imported into the area and are sold to local buyers on a small scale. For both the crop and livestock markets, Kanyati benefits from higher production and better integration into regional markets than the more remote parts of the district.

Previous research by Save the Children has divided the district into 5 food economy zones. These zones are areas where households obtain their food and cash income through roughly the same combination of means. Two of these zones - Omay Agro-Fishers and GacheGache Agro-Fishers - are mainly dependent on fishing on Lake Kariba, and have not been included in this assessment due to their small populations, and because they tend to be food secure even in drought years. The three other zones - Mola/ Negande, Nebiri/ Msambakaruma/ Kasvisva and Kanyati - are distinguished mainly by levels of agricultural productivity, and by livestock holdings. Tsetse fly is still prevalent in Mola/ Negande, and increasingly in other parts of the district, but this has contributed to keeping Mola and Negande the poorest parts of the district.

Since early 2002, Save the Children (UK) has been distributing food aid on a monthly basis to vulnerable households, including orphans, child-headed households, female-headed households, the elderly and disabled. As of April 2002 the district was included in the WFP programme, with Christian Care targeting most of the rest of the population. The government has also been operating a public works programme on a cash-for-work basis.

A nutrition survey carried out in the district by SC in February 2002 found a global acute malnutrition (wasting) level of 5.8%, and a chronic malnutrition (stunting) level of 34.1%. Within the district, Mola and Negande were found to be the worst off areas with acute and chronic malnutrition levels of 7.4% and 47.6% respectively.

Objectives of the Current Research

Save the Children has collected baseline household economy data for Nyaminyami in 1997, and this was updated in July 2001. The current research is being carried out in response to the severe drought that affected Nyaminyami and much of the rest of the country during the 2001-02 agricultural season. The objective therefore is to assess the likely ability of households in Nyaminyami to access food and income in the marketing year from April 2002 to March 2003, and thereby to assess the need for food aid or other interventions in support of household livelihood security.




Footnotes:
  1. UNDP Zimbabwe Human Development Report, 2000
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