via Govt orders GMB to distribute 10 000 tonnes of maize by Sunday Mail Reporters
Government has ordered the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to distribute more than 10 000 metric tonnes of maize from the country’s Strategic Grain Reserve to five provinces that are facing food shortages.
Outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made told The Sunday Mail last week that distribution is expected to commence this week.
He added that Government has sent a team from the GMB to Zambia to take delivery of part of the 150 000 metric tonnes of maize, which is part of a grain deal the two countries signed early this year.
He, however, did not disclose the amount of maize expected.
“We have ordered GMB to distribute 10 000 metric tonnes of maize to areas that have been worst affected by drought and are facing imminent food shortages,” said Dr Made.
“Government is continuing to import maize from Zambia under a government-to-government arrangement where we purchased 150 000 metric tonnes of maize.
“We are yet to take full delivery of all the maize since it is being delivered in batches. As we speak we already have a team from the GMB who are loading the grain in Zambia and we expect them to conclude anytime soon.
“The programme will continue in order for the country to feed people in areas without food.”
Dr Made added that priority will be given to people in the southern parts of the country.
“The first priority would be given to people in Matabeleland South, parts of Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland North.
“There are also other parts of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West which lie within the Lowveld areas that were affected by drought.”
He added that distribution of the grain from Zambia will commence once the 10 000 metric tonnes from the strategic reserve has been exhausted.
The 2012-2013 summer cropping season was adversely affected by delayed rainfall as well as a prolonged dry spell.
According to the final crop assessment report by the Ministry of Agriculture, 1 689 786 hectares were put under maize during the 2011/12 agriculture season, but 45 percent of the crop was a write-off.
Among the worst affected provinces are Masvingo, which had 155 484 ha, Midlands with 137 663 ha and Manicaland (94 271) of their maize crops written off.
According to the 2012 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Survey (Zimvac), an estimated 1,7 million people in Zimbabwe require food assistance.
However, President Mugabe has assured Zimbabweans that no one will die of hunger as the Government has sourced enough grain.