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Zimbabwe to import maize from Zambia
05/05/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Maize shortage ... Joseph Made
 
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ZIMBABWE will import 300,000 tonnes of maize from Zambia which has a huge surplus of carry-over stocks from last year, authorities confirmed Saturday.

In a statement Saturday, Zambia's Food Reserve Agency (FRA) said: "The sell reduces the surplus stock being held by the agency to 330,436 tonnes."

The agency said carry-over stocks of 770,931 tonnes from the last season plus current production gave the country a maize surplus of 1,035,333 tonnes.

Zimbabwe faces a one million tonne maize deficit due to drought, with nearly half of the national crop coming up for harvest this month failing due to poor rains.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made recently said nearly 45 percent of the maize crop that was planted this farming season is a complete write-off.

The country needs at least 2,2 million tonnes of maize to feed itself annually but Made said Harare currently has only 400,000 tonnes of maize stocks, which must be complemented by imports to prevent hunger.

In a major role reversal, Harare, which used to be southern Africa's bread basket, has been buying most of its maize grain staple from Zambia to augment available stocks.

Donor organizations say they are re-assessing their assistance to Zimbabwe to see how they can cope with the shortfall in both crop and funding.

Most of Zimbabwe food shortages followed the country's controversial land reform program that saw President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party taking land from white commercial farmers.

Last year the United Nations said it would raise nearly $200 million for aid efforts in Zimbabwe with half going to food security for more than 1.4 million people. But a funding shortfall affected the donor groups' efforts to assist.



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