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Grains importing Zimbabwe claims to have enough grain until next harvest

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2024 at 04:47hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE has 240 000 tonnes in its Strategic Grain Reserves which is enough to take the country to the next harvest, according to a report released by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

The country requires approximately 203 862 tonnes for human consumption till the next harvest.

Aa recent as 2 weeks ago, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development Dr. Anxious Masuka has revealed that at least 38,000 metric tonnes of grain imports were stuck at the Beitbridge border post because of issues with the VAT requirements, which kicked off in January.

He warned that because of the new fiscal policies  the nation should prepare for shortages of mealie meal.

The new fiscal measures that came into effect with the 2024 national budget include tighter tax clearance certificate (ITF263) and Value Added Tax (VAT) requirements for economic players.

In a recent cereal outlook report provided the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture Fisheries, Water and Rural Development indicated that some provinces have surpluses which can last them for more than 12 months.

Provinces with surpluses are Mashonaland West with 176 759 tonnes, Mashonaland East 87 690 tonnes, Mashonaland Central, 86 561 tonnes and Midlands 83 826 tonnes.

In Mashonaland West, districts of Makonde and Zvimba have enough grain that will last for 12 months.

"In Mashonaland East, Chikomba, Hwedza and Murehwa have also enough grain that will last for 12 months and Chirumanzu in Midlands have also enough grain.

In the country's traditionally dry southern parts regions the people will require food assistance.

There are, however, wide variations in each district, with those households that produced traditional grains being more food secure.

The report indicated that the market demand for grain is rising in areas experiencing deficits, while at the same time there is a growing trend of panic purchases of essential grain by certain households nationwide.

"Maize meal has emerged as the primary cereal bought by impoverished households in many regions, with prices experiencing a surge of 20 to 50 percent in USD over the same time frame. The availability of maize meal in certain markets is decreasing due to rising demand," said the ministry.

Head of Agriculture Institute of Engineering Mr Tirivangani Koza said it is critical for farmers to practice proper post-harvest management practices to ensure that the grain will not be affected by insects and rodents.

"This starts in the field. Early harvesting, drying and shelling will ensure that the grain is free from pesticides. The processes should be done quickly. On threshing we advise farmers to use methods which do not damage the grain. Insecticides are also recommended for use of hermetic silos," he said.

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust president Mr Victor Mariranyika said although the country has enough grains to last until the next season, there is need to prepare for next season.

Government is determined to transforming agricultural systems to contribute positively towards vision 2030.

Last season the country produced around 2,3 million tonnes of grain against an annual requirement of 2 287 742 tonnes.

Source - The Herald