21 April 2008

Zimbabwe: 'Allocate Trucks to Ferry Maize for Drought Relief'

Harare — Chiefs in Gokwe South District have called on the Government to allocate trucks to ferry maize for drought relief from Gokwe town to various parts of the district.

Briefing the Midlands Provincial Governor, Cde Cephas Msipa, on the food situation in Gokwe South, the chiefs said the district was experiencing problems in distributing grain to outlying wards because of transport problems.

They said they were receiving enough grain for their people from the Gokwe Grain Marketing Board depot but transporters were charging exorbitantly, thereby pushing the cost of subsidised maize beyond the reach of villagers.

"We need trucks that will assist us in ferrying grain to our respective wards. The trucks should be provided with subsidised fuel to make it affordable to the people," said Chief Mukoka.

The chiefs said the issue of transport was threatening to derail the Government-sponsored drought relief exercise.

Trucks bringing maize to the district were offloading the grain at the GMB depot in the town, leaving the local leadership and individuals with the task of distributing it to various wards.

There are 33 rural and six urban wards in Gokwe South with some rural wards situated more than 140km from the town.

Cde Msipa assured the traditional leaders that he would take up their concerns with the GMB management and Government in order to work out a lasting solution to the transport challenges.

"It is not proper to leave the transportation of the maize to ward leaders.

"It is very costly and obviously vulnerable groups lose out. The local leaders do not have the financial muscle to meet the costs. The Government's wish is for every villager to get maize at affordable prices," he said.

Cde Msipa said he would personally push for the trucks to be made available at Gokwe depot to ensure that even the remotest ward in the district received drought relief.

"We will make available subsidised fuel for use by the trucks so that the transport charges are affordable. Transport has become so expensive because of the black market fuel," he said.

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