ZIMBABWE’S strategic grain reserve is severely depleted with stocks currently at 184,000 metric tonnes against the ideal 500,000 metric tonnes, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has said.
The strategic reserve is the country's buffer in times of drought.
GMB chairman Charles Chikaura said Sunday the reserves held 183,698 metric tonnes as at the beginning of November compared to 425,219 metric tonnes held at the same time last year.
"Farmers continue to deliver maize to depots and the current strategic grain reserve stock is 183,698 metric tonnes as at Nov 1, 2012," Chikaura said in an update for the 2012/13 summer crop season.
Chikaura said the government continued to support maize purchases for reserves with US$54.2 million having been availed to pay farmers who delivered grain during the 2011/12 season.
The government has made available a further US$23.1 million to purchase grain during the 2012/13 marketing season.
"We urge farmers to continue making deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board to ensure food security until the next harvest season," Chikaura said.
The government has said more maize would be imported to cater for areas that were affected by drought in the last season.
Meanwhile, Chikaura said the GMB had entered into an agreement with seed houses for the distribution and sale of inputs ahead of the summer cropping season.
He said the seed was available at the parastatal's depots around the country.
"While the government is yet to come up with a programme for the summer season, we believe there are arrangements to come up with one before the end of the season," he said.
President Robert Mugabe has launched a US$20 million inputs scheme to benefit disadvantaged farmers across the country.