GUTU Rural District councilors have demanded that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) returns maize delivered to the parastatal by local farmers as hunger is now ravaging the area with villagers reportedly surviving on wild fruits.
Zanu PF councilor for Ward 13, Vitalis Watungwa recently told a full council meeting that people in his area were now surviving on snot apples (matohwe/xakuxaku) - a sweet wild fruit that ripens during winter.
Watungwa warned that if government does not urgently act on the situation villagers in his ward would soon starve to death.
"Some families in my ward are living on matohwe; they eat nothing the whole day except this wild fruit and only have one meal at night.
"When you visit their homes you find heaps and heaps of chewed matohwe waste and this is a very painful experience," said Watungwa.
Following debate on the issue, councilors unanimously agreed that GMB should immediately pay or return grain delivered to the troubled parastatal GMB by local farmers.
The meeting was temporally adjourned as the councillors immediately invited GMB Gutu depot manager Precious Shoko to find out what schemes were in place to help the starving villagers.
Shokohowever told the full council meeting that the pararstal had no money to pay farmers who delivered grain, adding she was not in a position to say whether her organisation could return the maize delivered by farmers or not.
She promised that the issue of food shortages within the district would be solved once the government has received a report that is currently being complied by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC).
Gutu district administrator Roy Hove weighted in to say the committee has just completed a survey on the food crisis in the district and government will only move in to help the masses once it has received the report.
He added that President Robert Mugabe has not declared a state of disaster as he is still waiting for the report.
The councilors later tasked the DA and GMB officials to look into the possibility of the parastatal urgently returning all the maize which has not been paid for and not wait for the ZIMVAC report.