HARARE - The maize being imported into Zimbabwe from Zambia is coming from white commercial farmers evicted during the often-violent land invasions here, President Robert Mugabe has ironically conceded.
Speaking at a Zanu PF rally held on Friday at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura, Mugabe said the country was importing tonnes of the staple maize grain from Zambia to plug a deficit after bad weather affected the crop from the current farming season.
“…iye zvino tiri kutenga chibage kuZambia, Zambia yakatora mabhunu aiva kuno ndokuvapa nzvimbo ndosaka vaine chibage chakawanda kupfuura chavanoda ivo… (at the moment we are importing maize from Zambia, Zambia gave former Zimbabwean white commercial farmers land and that’s why they have surplus food),” Mugabe said.
Zimbabwe requires at least 1,8 million tonnes of maize annually and has over the years relied on imports from neighbouring countries, including Zambia and South Africa, to plug the gap from local production.
Zimbabwe has been gripped by a political and economic crisis since the government launched a campaign in 2000 to seize white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
The policy gutted commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe.
Currently,more than 1,5 million people, more than 10 percent of the population, face hunger, WFP said.
One particularly worrying symptom of Zimbabwe’s vulnerability to food and nutrition security is the alarming rate of chronic malnutrition, with levels of stunted growth among children getting worse.