For the good of starving Zambians, Natsios said, Mwanawasa "needs to separate the diplomatic issue from this [food] issue."
In Shimabala, a farming village 40 miles south of Lusaka, Shikuboni and others say they hope the government swiftly reverses its policy.
Only recently, Shimabala was a bountiful collection of farms producing maize, cassava and other crops. But the drought has reduced the corn fields to parched brown earth with only a few dying shrubs.
Steven Grabiner, a food aid official, said the thousands of bags of food in his warehouse could feed Shimabala's 300 families for at least a month.