Oliver Kazunga Bulawayo Bureau
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is set to move 100 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania, as the country seeks to cover its grain deficit.
In July this year, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would import 800 000 tonnes of maize following last season’s El Nino-induced drought, which led to a poor harvest.
The country, whose national grain requirements stand at 1,8 million tonnes, will be importing the bulk of the maize from Southern African countries.
In an interview on Friday, NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said a logistical team comprising officials from the parastatal, Government and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had been set up to move the grain into the country.
“We (NRZ) have been identified as one of the logistical players to look into the transportation of 100 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania into Zimbabwe through Zambia,” he said.
“The logistical team also comprises officials from Government and the GMB. As NRZ we now wait for instruction as to when the grain should be transported because everything is under the purview of the logistical team.”
Mr Maravanyika said NRZ would move the maize from Tanzania in tranches and that the first batch would be 17 000 tonnes of grain.
“The logistical team will also have to agree on the equipment that should be used to transport the maize. But we are also going to move the maize into the country through Livingstone with the facilitation of Tazara (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority),” he said.
On its website, Tazara said they have agreed with NRZ and GMB to transport maize from Makambako and Vwawa in Tanzania to Bulawayo, starting with 17 000 tonnes.
“Under the agreed terms, Tazara would load the commodity from Makambako and Vwawa and relay it to Zambia Railway Limited at New Kapiri Mposhi who would in turn pass it to NRZ at Livingstone, for final delivery to various destinations in Zimbabwe. The entire tonnage is expected to be transported within three months,” said Tazara.
Meanwhile, Government has enlisted commercial banks and more private sector players in the administration of a new financing model for Command Agriculture as it seeks more sustainable means of financing agriculture to boost output.
The financing model will be implemented under a public private partnership arrangement with the ultimate goal of mobilizing financial resources for the sector.
The above approach is in line with the thrust of the 2019 National Budget and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which envisages the country becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Under the new financing model, Government would provide guarantees to banks to enable them to extend funding to farmers. The financial institutions that have so far entered into the above partnership with Government are Agribank, CBZ and Stanbic Bank.