Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

African bank experts say Zimbabwe’s strategic food reserves are severely depleted

African bank experts say Zimbabwe’s strategic food reserves are severely depleted

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, April 25, 3:00 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s grain reserves are running dangerously low 
ahead of new but poor harvests caused by erratic rain, an independent 
continent-wide development bank said Wednesday.

The African Development Bank said the strategic reserves have become so 
depleted that commercial millers have been stopped from buying supplies from 
the state.

The shortage of corn has also raised prices of the staple food as 1.6 
million Zimbabweans already depend on food aid, it said.

The nation has 92,000 tons in store, the bank said in its latest economic 
bulletin, but imports of another 150,000 tons are needed to meet consumer 
demand before the new harvest lands on the market.

In one province, three-fourths of planted corn was written off after a 
prolonged dry spell and other areas reported having had too much rain.

The state grain marketing agency sells locally grown corn to milling 
companies that is about $110 cheaper than imports for each ton.

The bank said the reserve stock was now only being used for distribution 
paid for by the government to needy communities. But it said these supplies 
were “erratic and in consistent.”

“This is because the reserve grain is insufficient and transporters are not 
willing to move it to the affected areas because they are not paid on time,” 
the bank said

The United Nations World Food Program said in a separate statement that the 
peak hunger period before the next harvests posed “the highest level of food 
insecurity” seen in the past three years. It said aside from weather 
patterns, the recent planting season was hit by shortages of seed and 

Less farmland was also planted with maize, the corn staple, as more small 
scale growers turned to tobacco and other cash crops with quicker and better 
financial returns, the U.N. food agency reported.

Farmers’ organizations have forecast total grain harvests this year of about 
1.2 million tons. Annual consumption by the population of nearly 13 million 
is 2.2 million tons.

Zimbabwe’s finance ministry, controlled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s 
party in a shaky coalition with longtime President Robert Mugabe, says it 
can’t raise enough money to import the shortfall for distribution by the 
Grain Marketing Board, the state grain sales monopoly, and wants private 
enterprises to share the burden. Mugabe’s party insists private importers 
are driven by profit that puts food basics out of the reach of ordinary 
Zimbabweans who live on about $1.50 a day.

In the troubled economy, many families survive on a single meal a day.

Before the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial 
farms began in 2000, Zimbabwe exported its corn surplus and was seen as a 
regional breadbasket.

The African Development Bank said Zimbabwe must give priority to restoring 
collapsed irrigation schemes and save dams and water reservoirs that have 
been damaged by silting, often with soil from illegal gold panning upstream.

The government also “needs to come up with strategies to ensure that grain 
reserves are well stocked,” it said. 


New Posts: