Zimbabwe plans to import corn from Uganda to offset a domestic shortfall, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri traveled to Uganda to discuss the procurement of the corn with Ugandan officials, Mnangagwa was quoted as saying on state broadcaster Star FM on Saturday. Mnangagwa held talks earlier this month with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who told him Uganda had “surplus maize” that could be sold to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s faces a shortfall of as much as 1 million tons of corn this season. About 8 million people, half of the population, face starvation, according to the UN World Food Programme.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that cargo trains carrying maize have departed Mozambique for Zimbabwe.
Posting on Twitter, the Ministry said: “Cargo trains carrying grain started moving from Maputo to Zim today (Friday 14 February 2020). Zim envoy Ambass Nyikayayaramba reports that incessant rains delayed loading wagons to avoid moisture. Close to 100 wagons are carrying over 3000ts of grain.”
This information could not be validated from independent sources.
There is an acute shortage of mealie-meal in the country as a result of a combination of drought and poor agricultural policies which have depreciated the country’s food production capacity over the past two decades.
The government, as a result of the shortage, resorted to importing grain from other countries and has also appealed to stakeholders and sympathisers to assist with food as a huge number of citizens is starving.