Zim to import more maize

HARARE - Deputy Agriculture minister responsible for cropping Davis Marapira says government will import more grain from South Africa and Zambia early next year in a bid to avert famine.

The country has been hit by massive famine as thousands of Zimbabweans in drought-ravaged areas are surviving on wild fruits and competing with wild animals to access scarce food and water.

Marapira told the Daily News yesterday that more maize will be sourced early next year to be distributed to hard hit areas.

“We wanted to import more maize before the end of the year but we failed. But what I can tell you is that early next year we are going to import maize from South Africa and Zambia,” Marapira said.

Zimbabwe early this year placed an order for 150 000 metric tonnes (mt) from Zambia in an effort to plug the grain deficit but only 3 400mt was accessed.

Marapira said his ministry has been distributing maize from the country’s strategic grain reserve.

“We have been distributing 10 000 mt from the country’s strategic grain reserve. We have distributed the grain to the worst affected areas and these are Matabeleland North and South and parts of Midlands provinces,” said Marapira adding that the grain reserves were drying up.

The UN World Food Programme has already started hand-outs to struggling villagers.

Marapira predicted that the current farming season will be more fruitful.

“You can see that there is rain. Farmers are receiving inputs and therefore I think this year it will be much better,” Marapira said.

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