Ellita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Government requires about US$60 million to bring in the remaining 137 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said Zimbabwe has so far paid US$10 million to Zambia and will procure more grain once funds become available.
“We have since written to the Ministry of Finance for more funds to enable the movement of grain from Zambia,” said Minister Made.
The 137 000 tonnes is part of the 150 000 tonnes of maize sourced from Zambia on a government-to-government agreement between the two countries.
Government has received 19 425 tonnes of maize out of the 150 000 tonnes.
Minister Made said the shortage of funding was affecting the payment of transporters who have been moving grain from Zambia and others who have been distributing the grain to deficit areas.
“We would like to thank the transporters who have been working with us distributing the grain to areas with food shortages,” he said.
“It is critical that they get their money for the programme to continue.”
The major areas that are in dire food shortages are Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Manicaland and southern parts of Manicaland.
Some parts of Mashonaland East and Central have also been severely affected.
Zimbabwe received poor rains last cropping season, resulting in food shortages.
Some people facing serious food shortages have had to import grain from other areas with supply while others are selling their livestock in exchange of grain.
Some livestock farmers are on the other hand buying hay from different areas to feed their livestock.