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Grain import crisis: Zim millers urge acting president to intervene

30 December 2015, 17:35

Harare - Zimbabwean millers have appealed to acting president Phekezela Mphoko to intervene in their bid to import maize from other countries as they are running out of stock, said a report on Wednesday.

According to New Zimbabwe, the southern African country is left with only eight weeks' supply of grain maize stock.

The report said Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has on several occasions, turned down the millers' request to obtain a maize import permit without explanation. 

In a letter to Mphoko, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) urged the acting president to intervene as the country’s situation is "so dire" that it has become a "security matter". The millers said they would be left with no choice, but to approach the courts for the licence to import grain, the report said. 

"I regret to advice you that the maize milling in Bulawayo currently stands at one week and the situation will soon deteriorate to no supply level very soon," GMZ’s  chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara wrote.

The report further revealed that Zambia which has been Zimbabwe's major supplier has placed an export ban on Food Reserve Agency (FRA), thus, affecting Zimbabwe badly.

In August, Reuters reported that recurrent droughts in Zimbabwe had halved the expected production of 742 000 tons of the main staple, maize, this year.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) indicated earlier this year that at least 1.5 million Zimbabweans (16% of the population) will not have enough food to stay healthy in the coming future.

"The situation in Zimbabwe is more extreme than most countries in the region, but it is not unique,” WFP spokesperson David Orr was quoted saying at the time.

- News24


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