via 1 800 tonnes of maize arrive | The Herald July 10, 2015 by Elita Chikwati
Zimbabwe has so far received 1 800 tonnes of maize from Zambia to avert a food crisis following last season’s drought that affected most parts of the country. More grain is on its way from the same country.
Addressing delegates attending a Food Conference Expo in Harare yesterday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said another 1 300 tonnes of maize were in transit.
“We have imported grain from Zambia and 1 800 tonnes have arrived at the Bulawayo Grain Marketing Board depot,” he said.
“Loading is taking place consistently with what we must get every week.
It is also important to note that grain deliveries to GMB depots have increased.”
Dr Made said more grain was expected from local farmers as harvesting was at its peak.
“GMB is now approaching 20 000 tonnes in terms of maize deliveries,” he said. “Farmers are delivering between 3 000 and 4 000 tonnes of maize to GMB every week.”
Dr Made said Zimbabwe was importing 700 000 tonnes of maize and this was being done by Government and the private sector.
“Government has allowed the importation of maize and mealie meal,” he said. “We will import more grain than mealie meal because we have the capacity to mill.”
Dr Made said Government will also import grain wheat and flour and intensify purchasing of grain from farmers and import at the same time.
“We are also going to push for early planted maize and intensify irrigation rehabilitation to boost food production next season,” he said.
Speaking on Zambia’s maize export supply position to Zimbabwe, Zambia Grain Traders Association executive director Mr Jacob Mwale said his country was facing challenges in exporting grain to Zimbabwe.
“We are only able to export 40 000 tonnes of grain to Zimbabwe per month due to logistical problems,” he said.
“The process becomes long, but if the borders could operate for 24 hours we could push more volumes,” he added.
Mr Mwale said if the logistical problems were not solved, Zambia will only be able to export 400 000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe between now and the next season.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara appealed to Government for permission to import Genetically Modified grain from South Africa to meet the deficit.
In response, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy minister responsible for livestock,
Cde Paddy Zhanda told millers that they were free to source non-GMO maize from any country of their choice as long as the grain met the requirements of their expectations.
Zimbabwe produced 800 000 tonnes of maize last season due to poor rains and floods in some areas.
The country also produced 500 000 tonnes of Irish potato, 400 000 of sweet potatoes, 374 000 tonnes of pulses and 36 000 tonnes of cucurbits.
The nation requires about 1,8 million tonnes of grain for human and livestock consumption per year.