Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe lacks funds to transport food aid – minister

Zimbabwe lacks funds to transport food aid-minister

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:39pm GMT

* No money to get food to 1.7 million who need it -minister

* Zimbabwe has 270,000 tonnes of grain reserves, he says

* All due to be sold in affected areas, he tells Herald

* Six of country’s 10 provinces experiencing severe drought

HARARE, March 21 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe does not have the money to transport 
food aid to areas experiencing acute shortages, Agriculture Minister Joseph 
Made said on Monday.

The country wants to send its entire 270,000 tonnes of grain reserves to 
provinces that are worst hit by drought and where 1.7 million people need 
aid, but the Grain Marketing Board had no money to do so he told the 
state-owned Herald newspaper.

“The directive was given by cabinet two weeks ago,” Made was quoted as 

Zimbabwe’s drought has left six of its 10 provinces facing serious food 
shortages, the Herald said.

The southern African country, once a regional bread basket, has failed to 
feed itself since 2000, following President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of 
white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks, leading to sharp 
falls in production.

Made told Reuters last Thursday that the government is carrying out a crop 
assessment programme but would not discuss the extent of the drought.

Combined estimates by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, the 
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Food 
Programme said about 1.7 million people out of its population of 12 million 
would need food aid.

Zimbabwe suffered a prolonged dry spell between February and March leading 
to crop failure in several provinces, the government-controlled Herald said.

Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands, Matabeleland North and South provinces are 
the worst affected, the newspaper said.

China lent Zimbabwe $700 million on Monday. At the same time, Chinese Vice 
Premier Wang Qishan emphasised on a visit to Harare that he hoped Chinese 
businesses would be protected from the mineral rich southern African country 
plans to increase ownership by black Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe expected to harvest about 1.7 million tonnes of grain in 2011, up 
from FAO estimates of 1.3 million tonnes in 2010 season and 1.2 million 
tonnes the season before.

“Most of the maize crop was at vegetative growth stages and in a fair to 
good condition. This positive crop production outlook has been halted by low 
rainfall activities for most of February in most parts of the country,” the 
U.S. Agency for International Development’s famine early-warning systems 
network said on its website.

“The southern half of the country appears most affected, having experienced 
a dry spell of close to 20 days by late February,” it said.


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