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Zimbabwe left with 4 months grain supply

by Staff reporter
30 Jan 2024 at 18:57hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE'S grain stocks are depleting and will last for four months, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) said yesterday, amid calls for the government to scale up imports.

The revelations by GMB acting operations director Clemence Guta contrast with government's projections that the available grain stocks will last up to October.

Guta made the revelations while appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture to discuss the state of grain reserves in the country.

He said the current quantity of grain stocks held in the reserves was 156 681 metric tonnes (mt) of maize, 45 959mt of traditional grains and  247 578mt of wheat.

"Maize and traditional grains will last four months at the consumption rate of 45 000mt per month," Guta said.

"Wheat stocks will last eight months at the consumption rate of 30 000mt per month."

In December, Cabinet informed the nation that the country had enough grain reserves to last until October this year.Information minister Jenfan Muswere said the GMB held 235 095 tonnes of maize as of December 10 with the private sector said to have imported a further 186 341 tonnes of maize.

Guta, however, painted a different picture in Parliament."An estimate of the projected grain requirements for the year 2024 and the anticipated consumption levels by various sectors such as food processing industries, livestock feed and human consumption national requirement for maize and traditional grains is 2 200 000mt for both humans and livestock, milling industry 45 000mt per month and livestock feed 30 000mt per month," Guta said.

"The available maize and traditional grains at GMB is primarily  targeted to benefit the vulnerable households under social welfare."

"The GMB will import to augment the available stocks targeting the vulnerable households."

He said private players were authorised to import grain to avert shortages.

"Grain processors have also been allowed to import grain for processing such that a total of 310 000mt of maize and 136 000mt of wheat were imported into the country from 1 April 2023 to date," he said.

"GMB only managed to sell the following quantities of grain to processors during the period 1 April 2023 to date: 155 000mt maize, traditional grains 10 800mt and 32 500mt of wheat.

"In the event of unforeseen circumstances affecting grain production such as adverse weather conditions or crop diseases, contingency measures are in place to mitigate any potential shortages and ensure food security."

Government recently assured the nation that Zimbabwe has enough maize to feed the people, amid fears of possible shortages owing to the El NiƱo-induced drought.

Source - newsday
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