22 January 2016

Zimbabwe: Food Shortages - Zimbabwe Secures U.S.$200 Million Loan to Import Maize

Zimbabwe has secured at least $200m from African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to import much needed grain, as the southern African nation grapples with food shortages , reports indicated on Friday.

According to NewsDay, Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya claimed that the country had about 250 000 metric tons of maize reserves that would last until September.

Mangudya said this during a breakfast meeting in Harare on Thursday.

He said the maize had been stored in the country's strategic grain reserves since last year.

Mangudya said the $200m loan from Afreximbank would assist the country in securing maize from across the globe, as there was a high demand in the southern African region due to El-Nino.

Speaking at the same event, Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe President Sam Malaba said the southern African country needed at least one million metric tons of maize, as the government projection of 700 000 tons could prove to be not enough.

But Mangudya, according to the state owned Herald newspaper, dismissed reports that the country needed at least one million tons of maize as "rubbish".

"We do not need one million tons of maize for now. The maize that is there in Zimbabwe is good for the next eight months or so," he was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe and a number of other sub-Saharan African countries have been hit hard by El-Nino induced dry season, forcing the southern African country to import maize from neighbouring country's such as Zambia.

Reports on Thursdays quoted acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa as having said that the government was busy sourcing maize. Mnangagwa said the country was ready to accept international assistance.

Source: News24

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