Government allays fears of grain shortages


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The government has allayed fears of grain shortages and assured food security for all citizens despite low rainfall amounts countrywide as the Southern African region is grappling with an El Nino-induced drought.
This came to the fore as the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development toured the National Foods processing plant in Harare yesterday where it emerged that grain millers are complimenting government efforts by offering a complete value chain to ensure constant supply of mealie meal and cereals to the nation.
The tour was led by the Deputy Minister, Hon. Vangelis Haritatos, and the Permanent Secretary, Prof. Obert Jiri.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Professor Obert Jiri revealed that more than 240 metric tonnes of maize are in the country’s depots.
“As a nation, we have quite healthy stocks of grains. Last year in May we surpassed the target so currently we have 241 metric tonnes of maize which will cover more than seven months. So we can safely say we are covered in terms of food. We also have stocks in the industry and people’s granaries.”
The ZBC also reported that private millers pledged to work closely with the government.
“We are grateful for the support we are getting from the government and recently we received maize from the Grain Marketing Board so that we supply to the formal market. We are happy to announce that we will continue to work together with the government,” said National Foods Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mike Lashbrook.
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Zimbabwe’s economy and food security situation remains fragile. It notes that poor weather conditions, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, contributed to increased humanitarian needs across the country, while the deteriorating economic situation exacerbated the already rising vulnerability in both rural and urban communities.