SW Radio Africa (London)

10 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Zambia Comes to Rescue of Starving Zimbabweans

President Mugabe met Zambian Vice President Guy Scott at State House in Harare Thursday to finalise an agreement for Zimbabwe to import 150,000 tonnes of maize from that country.

After the meeting, Scott told journalists that Zambia would start delivering the maize soon, and said this could be as early as next week.

Although Scott did not disclose the value of the consignment, the state-run Herald newspaper said Zimbabwe had already made a down payment of $3 million.

Scott was accompanied by Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Efron Lungu and Agriculture Minister Robert Sichinga.

Speaking to the state media, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said that the 150,000 tonnes of maize would see the country having enough grain when added to the harvests taking place in areas that were not affected by drought.

He said Zimbabweans should be grateful to Zambia for prioritising the country in the light of a high demand of maize by other countries in the sub-region.

Last month, SW Radio revealed that Zimbabwe was facing severe shortages of grain, partly due to a poor harvest and a lack of fertiliser in the last season, with the national Grain Marketing Board having only 92,000 tonnes of maize in its reserves.Before the ZANU PF government embarked on the chaotic and violent farm seizures in 2000, Zimbabwe used to be the regional breadbasket, producing enough for its local needs and exporting its corn surplus.

But since 2000 the country has largely relied on food imports. Areas including Matebeleland South, Masvingo, southern parts of Manicaland, southern parts of Midlands and some parts of Matebeleland North are already receiving food aid. But ZANU PF regularly politicize the food aid, making it impossible for opposition supporters to access.

For some years now nearly 2 million people have had to be supported with food aid from the international community, due to ZANU PF's disastrous policies.

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