Zimbabwe has 2.3 million tonnes of grain needed to feed its population until the next season, against a national demand of 2.2 million tonnes, a senior government official has said.
In an interview with The Manica Post last week, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, John Basera, said the country has a surplus of 100 000 tonnes of maize.
Basera however, said the grain is not enough to sustain strategic grain reserves of 500 000 tonnes.
As a result, the Government has lifted the maize and wheat import bans to allow the milling industry and stock feed manufacturers to import grain. Basera said:
As a country, we do not have grain shortages. The total production of grain this season is 1.8 million tonnes plus the 0.5 million tonnes which are in the strategic grain reserves from the previous season.
This will add to 2.3 million tonnes against a national demand of 2.2 million tonnes. In other words, we actually have a surplus of 100 000 tonnes.
The surplus is, however, not enough to maintain our strategic grain reserves, and obviously, we will need more, especially in light of what is happening in Eastern Europe.
We need more in our reserves and that is why we have lifted the ban on grain imports.
We are allowing those with free funds to import grain.
Certainly, we have some areas with grain deficits, but in the same vein, we also have some areas with surplus grain.
We need an efficient distribution system to move grain from areas with surplus grain to those with a deficit in line with the President’s directive to ensure that no one starves.