By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
09 January 2014
Maize imports from South Africa have begun arriving in the country with Zimbabwe receiving 700 tonnes of grain so far, reports said this week.
A Wednesday Herald report quoted Agriculture minister, Joseph Made, saying Zimbabwe had received close to 700 tonnes and more should be expected because the holidays are now over in South Africa.
Made said the maize will be distributed across the country for sale while 10 percent of every delivery will be reserved for the vulnerable groups such as the elderly and orphans.
Made’s deputy, David Marapira, revealed last week that Zimbabwe is importing 150, 000 tonnes of maize to guarantee food supplies before the April harvest.
According to a survey by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee at least 2.2 million people in the rural areas will need food aid before the harvest period.
Reports state that Zimbabwe needs over two million tonnes of maize every year but only produced 800, 000 tonnes last year.
Zimbabwe’s food problems are generally blamed on Robert Mugabe’s controversial seizure of commercial farms, which saw the widespread destruction of the agricultural sector. But the government routinely blames drought and Western targeted sanctions for the food shortages.
The imports also come at a time when the ZANU PF government is routinely accused of politicizing food aid, with opposition supporters being denied any allocations.