LOW rainfall in drought-prone Chivi district in Masvingo has forced villagers to device new ways of survival, with many now supplying marula brew (Mukumbi) to Chiredzi and Masvingo, resulting in a boom in the trade.

The home-made brew has found ready market in towns, and has taken over from the now exorbitant alcoholic beverages.

However, according to one villager Malcom Murove from Dare under Chief Shindi, creative villagers who are surviving on one meal per day, have discovered that the brew can keep hunger pangs at bay.

“This type of beer has a high alcohol percentage that one can sleep for hours. It is made from wild marula fruits. The marula tree is usually found in hot, arid areas.
Mostly, people no longer have food reserves that can last them up to the end of the month,” He said.

Chivi legislator Killer Zivhu (Zanu PF), however, dismissed allegations that people in Chivi were now surviving on unprocessed marula fruit or beer to keep hunger at bay, but admitted that his constituency was in dire need of food aid.

“It’s a known fact that Chivi falls in region 5 and we have been adversely affected by the impending drought, which is likely to be one of the worst in the country’s history. We are, however, putting together measures as a constituency so that we won’t lose human life because of the drought.

“Right now, I am setting up Zunde ramambo, where we are already mobilising funds to buy grain and mealie-meal for villagers, because this time everyone is affected.
Even the working class is seriously affected because of the current economic situation. As an MP, I cannot fold my hands when the constituency is in dire need of food, so I am going to exhaust all avenues to feed my constituency,” Zivhu said.

”We are also appealing to our government to introduce irrigation schemes in the area because we are already privileged to have Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in our proximity. Chivi cannot continue to rely on food handouts from the Department of Social Welfare and non-governmental organisations because the dam is in our vicinity.”

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Sekai Nzenza said although her ministry was facing transport problems, it was doing everything possible to deliver grain to all provinces on a weekly basis.

Nzenza last month said close to 700 000 households were in dire need of food assistance across the country.newsday