Maize imports for drought stricken areas

23 Jun, 2019 - 00:06 0 Views
Maize imports for drought stricken areas

The Sunday Mail

Carren Mushonga

AT least 720 000 metric tonnes of maize is being imported by Government to alleviate hunger in drought- stricken areas following high incidence of crop failure during the 2018-2019 agricultural season.

The country’s strategic grain reserve currently holds about 420 00 metric tonnes of maize with the harvest from last season projected to be slightly above 700 00 metric tonnes. Zimbabwe requires at least I,4 million metric tonnes of maize annually for both human and animal consumption.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro, told Senators in Parliament last week that Government had devised a plan to mitigate the effects of the drought.

“The ministry is importing over 720 000 metric tonnes metric tonnes of maize to quickly alleviate the effects of the drought as a short term plan,” he said.

“We have also gone further to prepare so that famine cannot occur. Again, we are developing irrigation schemes in each and every constituency so that we have sufficient food supplies from irrigation.

‘‘On a monthly basis, as a nation, we consume close to 120 000 metric tonnes, inclusive of human and livestock.

“We are also expecting some deliveries from farmers and that 720 000 metric tonnes will be augmented by the deliveries that we are expecting) from imports).”

Deputy minister Karoro said Government had also come up with a programme for rural areas with abudant grass to make hay for livestock in drought hit areas.

The Government estimates that food-insecure rural households require at least 720 000 metric tonnes of maize to meet their needs to the next harvest.

Food insecure urbanites need about 500 000 tonnes of maize to last through to next year.

Maize is Zimbabwe’s staple diet.

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