Zim imports 150 000t maize from SA

maizeGeorge Maponga and Elita Chikwati
Government has started importing 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa to guarantee national food security before the next main harvest in April.
This will augment ongoing grain imports from Zambia at a time the Strategic Grain Reserve has 30 000 tonnes of maize in its silos.
In addition, the Government is importing 10 000 tonnes of top dressing fertilisers to forestall potential shortages for the commodity.
It is projected that demand for fertiliser will balloon this month due to the wet conditions.

Large swathes of Zimbabwe were affected by drought in the 2012-13 agricultural season resulting in poor harvests, especially in the southern provinces, leaving hundreds of thousands of households in need of food relief.

This prompted Government to import 150 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia, 10 000 tonnes of which have been delivered,  after also introducing the Grain Loan Scheme.

Statistics from the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ministry show that more than 205 000 households have benefited from the Grain Loan Scheme.

According to figures from the 2012 census by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency, the average family size is 4.2.
This means as many as a million people could have benefited from the Grain Loan Scheme.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Cropping) Davis Marapira yesterday said Government had started importing maize from South Africa to augment grain coming in from Zambia to ensure the country had sufficient food stocks over the next four months.

Deputy Minister Marapira would not reveal how much the deal was worth, but said some of the maize was already in the country.
He said it was cheaper and logistically easier to move grain from South Africa to southern Zimbabwe than to bring it in from Zambia, which is in the north.

“Government struck a deal with South African farmers to supply the 150 000 metric tonnes and the maize is being delivered by road and I am happy that so far over 300 metric tonnes have already been delivered into the country in Bulawayo, from where it will be moved to other parts of the country,” he said.

“We decided to import maize from South Africa because grain can be moved quicker from there as compared to Zambia because of the good transport links between the two countries (Zimbabwe and South Africa).

“Of course we are still getting maize imports from Zambia but the movement of the maize into the country is very slow,” he added.
The Agriculture Deputy Minister revealed that the Strategic Grain Reserve had 30 000 tonnes of maize in stock.

In addition, he said Government had turned to South African suppliers for 10 000 tonnes of top dressing fertiliser.
The prevailing wet spell in the country, he said, had caused demand for fertiliser to shoot up hence Government’s decision to import additional fertiliser from its southern neighbout.

“The fertiliser is part of a package to assist mainly communal farmers under the Presidential Wellwishers’ Inputs Support Scheme,’’ he explained.

Zimbabwe last year struck a deal with Zambia to import 150 000 tonnes of maize following poor yields in the previous farming season.
However, delivery of the maize has been slow owing to logistical and other challenges.

Zimbabwe needs 2,2 million tonnes of maize every year to meet national requirements.
The Agriculture Ministry this week revealed that upwards of 205 000 households across the country had benefited from Government’s Grain Loan Scheme.

The scheme was introduced in September 2013 and by December 4 more than 11 000 tonnes of maize had been distributed to food deficit areas.

According to statistics from the Agriculture Ministry, 32 700 beneficiaries in Manicaland received 1 635 tonnes of maize, while in Midlands, 28 000 families got 1 400 tonnes.

Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces have the highest numbers of beneficiaries with 40 000, 38 000 and 36 300 families, respectively, benefiting from the programme.

At least 4 000 households in Mashonaland West received 1 780 tonnes and about 9 200 in Mashonaland East got 462 tonnes of grain. The figures for Mashonaland Central was 4 000 households getting 859 tonnes of maize.

The Mashonaland provinces generally produce more food than the other regions.
Agriculture Minister Dr Joseph Made assured the nation that Government would ensure no one starved.

President Mugabe, at Zanu-PF’s Annual National People’s Conference in December 2013, gave the re-assurance that no one would die of hunger despite drouhgt, unavailability of affordable agricultural inputs and the broader effects of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some countries opposed to land reforms here.

Dr Made said maize imports stood at 213 400 tonnes between April 2012 and March 2013, while maize meal imports stood at 14 691 tonnes over the same period.

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  • Thumani

    Irrigation was used before on the farms, some pumping water from dams and others using windmills pumping ground water. We have to make sure that irrigation equipment works to maintain or increase the levels of production. Seasons and rainfall patterns appear to be changing with irrigation we can mitigate some of the adverse effects of poor or late rains.

    • Ivhu ndereveZimbabwe muZimbab

      Good contribution Thumani. Personally, I do not pay serious attention to those who mourn about our land reclamation of 2000. There is no going back on that issue. Droughts have dogged our nation since the Rhodesian were in control. For instance, the 1962/1963 drought, the 1971/1972 drought and the 1978/1979 year of hunger and war. With this year’s current rain season promising the sympathizers of white land barons will be shamed. LAND AND ECONOMY TO THE MAJORITY.

  • Takunda

    If imports of 150 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia have slowed down to a trickle or nothing, through Government’s inability to pay for the imports ‘cash up-front’, the people would like to know in a transparent manner, what punative credit deals have been negotiated with SA allowing replacement of 150 000 tonnes of ‘unapproved’ GM maize from our main import nation, and the cumulative costs of SA fertilisers to the detriment of local suppliers.

    • Mutungamiri

      True, most grain exports from SA are GM crops, has Government decided to ignore its guidelines in the interests of avoiding starvation, because it has become more scientifically aware and literate, or because GM crops are cheaper?

      • chokwadi

        Because they are desperate, and desperate people have no choice but to take desperate measures. Handiti kuramba nyama yechidembo hunge une yetsuro? Kungorebesa muromo muchiti chiropa hachiseveswi sadza handiti hunge nyama yacho chaiyo iripo?

        So now that the collective goose that laid the eggs was killed or kicked out, there is no choice but to go elsewhere. The irony is that we are begging even from where they took what you rejected and made it work for them in a short space of time. Ndiwo mubaira wekutungamidza politics panzvimbo yerational economic policies.

    • YOWE78

      unotaura takunda1

    • otilia

      murungu wekurima manhingi paBanket apo ndiye ave kurima kuZambia akati changu chibage ndoda cash upfront kwete zvaSata zvekupa nyika ino nechikwerete chatisingazokwanise kubhadhara.

  • Comrade DZ

    the once bread basket of …..

  • munhu

    the GMO’s which we are not allowed to grow in Zim but we can buy them from SA, lack of leadership

  • Kavhura

    Pay well local farmers and yields will improve greatly, Most farmers have turned to tobacco farming which is paying well

  • Londisizwe

    Yearly international food aid financed by Western nations, for an estimated 2.2 million Zimbabweans facing starvation in need of food assistance, will once again compensate for government failed agricultural policies to feed the nation.
    The country needs to concentrate on bread and butter issues for survival of the people, yet the majority of headline news is occupied by irrelevant sex scandals and the like.
    When will Government grow up and start to deal with reality and important issues?

    • chokwadi

      Tell that to their surrogates who prioritize articles that highlight the trivial while skirting around or being mum on the real issues. For example, when are we to hear of what government will do over Ziscosteel workers some of whom were paid a measly 20 dollars in December? Is the silence because this reflects another failure of the much-vaunted Look East which has not brought much materiel benefit to the people? Ndipo pari kutangira nhamo dzenyika ipapa, when journalism that should work in the people’s interests becomes an extension for calculated peddling of non-issues so as to mask the real issues.

  • YOWE78


  • tedious shumba

    Zimbabwe imports maize becoz of drought and imports extra fertilizer becoz of good rains. So THAT’S WHY we in a mess !!!!!

  • Sekuru Bongwi

    Thank you South Africa thank you Zambia what could we do as Zimbabweans without you. One thing you have to remember do your farming in yours countries never and never try it Zimbabwe.

  • Nyandoro

    Biti akaramba kupa ma new farmers mari, vakaramba kurima mvura ikabva yaramwa kunaya. kikikikikiki!!!!!!!!

  • Fire

    I think Government should slow down on this indigenization process, acess whether other indigenized sectors like Agric are successful.If not they should work on it until its all systems go!There is no need of picking on another crawling sector and shove it down the pit and then cry sabotage and point to this and that.After more than 10 years this Agric sector is still in a mess, never mind all that mechanization and assistance offered to this sector.Surely if the same individuals take over Banks and other successful sectors like mines, the scenario will turn to be like that in this Agric sector.I think some of our very talented and renown white farmers should be allowed back and somehow be given back farms and produce for the Country.Politics aside, it doesn’t look like we will come right in this Agric sector with the majority type of commercial farmer occupying farms currently.

  • paparay

    Government MUST take back all the land given to people who are NOT farming it. We can NOT continue to use scarce forex to import something that we should be able to produce and export ourselves. I am NOT convinced that this shortage has anything to do with drought at all….