via Govt imports grain to avert hunger in deficit areas by Sunday Mail Reporter 15 September 2013
The new Zanu-PF Government has begun importing grain from Zambia to feed people in drought-hit areas in fulfilment of the party’s election promise that no one will starve. Last Thursday, Zimbabwe took delivery of over 3 000 metric tonnes of grain from Zambia which is being distributed to the southern parts of the country.
In an interview last week, Grain Marketing Board general manager Mr Albert Mandizha said the delivery is the first as others consignments are expected later this month.
“This week only, we have received 3 000mt of maize from Zambia and distribution has already started in the southern parts of the country where the drought is severe,” said Mr Mandizha.
“The grain would complement the 10 000mt from our own strategic grain reserve that we have since been ordered to distribute among the most affected areas.
“Out of the 150 000mt we agreed on with Zambia, Zimbabwe has only received 12 000mt of grain because the programme was stopped due to differences in the inclusive Government,” he said.
Earlier this year, President Mugabe had an agreement with his Zambian counterpart, President Michael Sata, over the importation of 150 000mt of grain to feed thousands of people in Zimbabwe who face hunger following a poor 2012/13 summer cropping season. However, the programme has been sabotaged by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti who stopped it citing financial challenges when only less than a quarter of the grain had been delivered.
The grain is set to be distributed in the most affected parts of the country which include 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.
According to the 2012 Ministry of Agriculture final crop assessment report, 45 percent of the planted 1 689 786 hectares of maize was a write-off in the 2012/13 summer cropping season.
Also, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Survey (Zimvac) 2012, estimated that at least 1,7 million people in Zimbabwe require food assistance.