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Zimbabwe facing food security concerns, bars UN agencies

Zimbabwe is taking on food and crop measurements on their own and forbidding the involvement of United Nations agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) from making assessments, according to a recent report by IRIN News.

The Zimbabwe agriculture minister, Joseph Made, called food security a "national security matter" that needed to be treated with "exclusivity."

"UN agencies in particular are not welcome because they send out negative information about the country. We don’t want to have politics in food issues," Made told the news source.

Some economists believe that the move is a political effort by Zimbabwe to only portray positive news regarding its land reform programs, instigated by President Robert Mugabe.

Other officials and economists warn that inaccurate reporting of food security forecasts made for political reasons can have serious negative consequences in terms of financial planning.

About 68 percent of the population in Zimbabwe lives below the poverty line, according to the CIA World Factbook. The unemployment rate in 2009 was 95 percent.
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