Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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250,000 need urgent food aid

250,000 need urgent food aid

An estimated 250,000 households in rural Manicaland are in need of urgent 
food assistance following poor harvests, according to statistics from the 
Provincial Administrator’s office.
by Tony Saxon

Manicaland was affected by drought and poor farming preparations in the 
2011-12 season, with some farmers failing to harvest anything. A cereal loan 
scheme introduced by the government to help food in secure households has 
reportedly been hijacked by influential individuals.

Mutare District Administrator Simon Sigauke recently confirmed that grain 
meant for the scheme had run out before the intended beneficiaries had 
received their monthly allocations.

Under the scheme, each needy household is supposed to receive 50kg of maize 
every month, said Sigauke, who added that hungry villagers were inundating 
the district offices to inquire about the availability of the grain.

“My office has been besieged by needy people who come to inquire when the 
next delivery will be made. Each household is receiving a 50 kg bag of maize 
per delivery, but this is not for big families,” he said.

Sigauke urged government to make speedy deliveries of the staple maize in 
order to avert hunger. The maize is being distributed through Grain 
Marketing Board depots. There is growing concern that Zanu (PF) officials 
and Agritex officers are diverting truckloads of food meant for the 
villagers to the black market.

They are reportedly selling it at exorbitant prices to ready buyers on the 
informal market. A source privy to the scandal said a tonne of maize was 
being sold for a minimum price of $250.

Supporters of the MDC have alleged that they are being side-lined in the 
distribution process. The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanization and 
Irrigation Development, Joseph Made, last week condemned the corruption.

“We are ready to weed out such unscrupulous people. I am aware that the 
issue of distributing grain is being politicised. Nobody should be denied 
access to grain. At no point should the GMB and Agritex officials distribute 
grain. This should be done by the traditional leaders,” said Made.

Meanwhile, The Zimbabwean has learnt that the Manicaland Small Miners 
Federation has disbursed a $50 000 credit facility it received from South 
African based Nashell Mining Trust last month to help its members produce 

Steven Makata, MSMF Chairman, said the funds were disbursed to miners 
throughout the seven mining regions in the country.

“Regional representatives are giving this money to registered miners who 
have been producing gold or any other mineral mined in the region. They are 
disbursing the money and we are waiting for feedback from them,” Makata 
said. The association is now looking for funds from the Small Enterprises 
Development Corporation to assist small-scale miners. “The association would 
repay SEDCO the loan using earnings from gold. Out of the 25 000 small-scale 
miners whose operations were closed under operation “Chikorokoza Chapera” a 
few years back, only 2,000 were issued with environmental impact assessment 
certificates,” he added.


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