Takunda Maodza Manicaland Bureau Chief
Zimbabwe will import 800 000 tonnes of maize following last season’s poor rains which led to a drought, President Mnangagwa has said.
The country is already in negotiations with potential suppliers, including Tanzania which has promised to help.
Addressing villagers on Monday after officially opening the US$20 million rehabilitated Ngundu-Tanganda Highway in Chipinge, the President said Government will ensure no one starved.
He stressed that food relief will not be distributed along partisan lines.
“I want to assure you that this drought did not affect Chipinge alone,” said the President, while speaking in vernacular.
“There were not enough rains throughout the country. Although some areas received some rains, all provinces had some areas where there were not enough rains.”
President Mnangagwa said while other provinces had a good harvest, others did not.
“Some provinces had a good harvest and their surplus should be moved to the affected provinces,” he said.
“Overall, we need to import around 800 000 tonnes because our principle is that no one should die of hunger.”
President Mnangagwa said information on which families and areas face starvation should be relayed through the right channels until it reaches Government.
“Our Ministry of Social Welfare led by Minister (Sekai) Nzenza needs to be informed by the headman or village head, who know their subjects well, that certain families in Chipinge or here at Kondo are facing starvation,” he said.
“The councillors should also know the food status of people in their wards. That information should be relayed through the proper channels to enable the people to receive the food.”
President Mnangagwa said Members of Parliament had a role to play in alerting Government on areas where people needed food aid.
“So, we are not discriminating against those from MDC or any other political party, we give everyone food because they are Zimbabweans,” he said.
“You are a Zimbabwean, you will be given the food. The Zanu-PF Government does not discriminate, we do not want any Zimbabwean to die of hunger.”
President Mnangagwa said he engaged some countries in the Sadc region to see if they had grain surplus and indications pointed to Tanzania.