The Herald (Harare)

8 January 2014

Zimbabwe: 700 Tonnes of Maize Arrive From SA

Photo: Mauricio Ramos/IPS
Maize.

Zimbabwe has received 700 tonnes of non-genetically modified grain as part of the 150 000 tonnes the Government is importing from South Africa. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said more grain was expected in the country soon.

"We have so far received close to 700 tonnes of maize. There will an increase in the loading and delivering of the maize because the holidays are now over in South Africa.

"The maize will be distributed to different parts of the country for cash sales while 10 percent of every delivery will be reserved for the vulnerable such as the child-headed families and the elderly," he said.

Minister Made said for every delivery of maize, 10 percent of the grain would be forwarded to the Department of Social Welfare.

He said Government would also consider some areas where people have been displaced.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development is working with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

"There are places where people may be displaced by floods. Some households may lose property and food and the responsible ministries are on alert for that.

"Some areas may not be easy to access due to poor roads and rains and the three ministries are also working on this," he said.

The minister dismissed reports that the maize being imported from South Africa was GMO.

"I would like to assure the nation that the grain we are importing is GMO free. It is the State's position and policy that we do not accept GMOs.

"We are testing and verifying all supplies for GMOs. We have technical teams in South Africa to deal with the phytosanitary issues.

"Each consignment is tested for GMO material and our teams are carrying out the inspections," he said.

Government is importing maize from South Africa to counter the current food deficit.

The country was also promised 150 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia under a government to government agreement.

Government is still finalising payments to Zambia for the remaining stock of above 130 000 tonnes of maize to be delivered.

Large swathes of Zimbabwe were affected by drought in the 2012-13 agricultural season resulting in poor harvests, especially in the southern provinces, leaving hundreds of thousands of households in need of food relief.

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