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Zimbabwe gobbles US$43,7 million on maize imports in just one month

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By Alois Vinga


ZIMBABWE chewed a total US$43,7 million on maize imports in just one month in a development which reflects the huge cost exerted by the El Nino induced drought.

The Southern Africa nation, once the region’s breadbasket in the 1990s, urgently needs to feed 2,7 million food insecure citizens. This follows a poor rain season, which failed to deliver just over half of the cereals needed to feed the nation.

The naturally occurring Nino climate pattern, which emerged in mid-2023, usually increases global temperatures for a year afterwards. It is currently fuelling fires and record heat across the world.

On the back of such trends, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) recent report  shows that US$43,7 million was spent  on maize imports during the period up from US$42,7 million spent in the previous month of January 2024.

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has since anticipated importing one million tonnes of grain in the country between now and March 2025 to prevent drought-induced hunger.

In the matrix of the excruciating drought, the amount spent on maize imports is likely to increase in the coming months as last season’s reserves slowly run out.

Just this week, Care International also presented a Southern Africa regional drought context, which paints a dire situation requiring urgent donor assistance and timely disbursements to rescue the ailing nations.

The RBZ report also reveals that maize is currently the second highest imported commodity from diesel on the list of the ten highly-imported commodities.

“During the month of February 2024, the country sourced most of its imports from South Africa which accounted for about 39.2% of total imports, followed by China, the Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, Mozambique, and Zambia,” the RBZ report said.