Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau—
Treasury has released $1 million to finance logistics and distribution modalities of grain across the country. This is also expected to ameliorate the plight of villagers in some communities who are being asked to pay a fee to have grain delivered to their areas. Villagers in areas such as Mola in Kariba District, are being asked to pay as much as $10 to have maize delivered to their area.
The impact of Government’s intervention will start being felt by the beginning of next week as departments such as the Grain Marketing Board and the District Development Fund take action.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said Government was leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that food reached its beneficiaries. People are being asked to pay money for grain to reach them so I am pleased to announce that yesterday (Thursday) we received $1 million,” said Minister Mupfumira.
“This means that by next week things should start moving smoothly in the distribution of grain to our people who are in need of food assistance.”
Government is expected to release more funds towards that cause soon . About $600 000 will go towards logistics and administration for the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry.
Part of that money will be channelled to DDF for the transportation of grain to mostly remote areas, which are hard to reach owing to the poor state of roads. The remaining $400 000 has been given to GMB to buy grain bags for easy distribution of the grain to deserving households. The money will also be used for the loading and logistics of moving the grain from one GMB depot to another.
“There was a problem of shortage of grain bags, which was slowing down the delivery process that we hope to address because of this intervention,” she said. Because of the shortage of grain bags, Minister Mupfumira said people were bringing their own bags, which did not meet the requirements at GMB thereby slowing down the distribution process.
Grain is stored in silos at GMB depots across the country. Minister Mupfumira said the country had slightly over 100 000 tonnes of maize with more already coming into the country from Zambia.
With a monthly demand of about 30 000 tonnes of maize, the country has enough cover for up to four months. Zimbabwe is experiencing El Nino induced drought,which has seen more than 300 000 households and slightly over 3 million people needing food assistance across the country.
Government has stepped food relief efforts, as more people are faced with starvation after crops in some areas were deemed to be a total write off. Minister Mupfumira who is also the Senator for Makonde, was speaking on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony for Zanu-PF district chairwomen from Makonde in Chinhoyi.
The women underwent training in entrepreneurship, saving and making of soap, candles, cordial drinks and sausages among others. A brainchild of Minister Mupfumira, the week long training brought officers from banks and Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Develo- pment.
“Its a good way to empower people through giving them the means to things, instead of giving them projects or supporting them to enter ventures they have not initiated themselves,” she said.
Minister Mupfumira said women should work for themselves, instead of waiting for their husbands to supply food. She said no one in Makonde should pay more than a $1 for grain deliveries as local arrangements have been made with transporters.
Mashonaland West secretary for administration in the women’s league, Cde Maggi Chidarikire, said the programme had been an eye opener for women in the district and it should cascade to the grassroots.