NEARLY 42 000 tonnes of drought relief maize is on the way from Maputo, Mozambique, to Zimbabwe. Four trains with 40 wagons each were dispatched from Maputo to Zimbabwe, while authorities in Mozambique were loading additional wagons.
One wagon is equivalent to a 30-tonne truck. The movement of grain had been affected by heavy rains in Mozambique.
The situation has since improved as the weather is now favourable for offloading grain from the docked ship.
Zimbabwean Ambassador to Mozambique Retired Lieutenant General Douglas Nyikayaramba yesterday said the offloading of the ship and loading of wagons to Zimbabwe started three days ago after torrential rains that were being experienced in Mozambique subsided.
"I can confirm that the drought relief maize which is being brought in by Government has started coming in.
"We have so far loaded 153 wagons of maize. The first train as at 9am on Monday, which had 40 wagons, was at Dabuka in Zimbabwe, the second train with 40 wagons was at Chicualacuala.
"The third train was yesterday morning in Mapayi going to Chicualacuala while the fourth train had left for Chicualacuala.
"Meanwhile, loading is in progress at STEMS Grain Silos," he said.
"The first dispatch of 15 000 tonnes is going to Bulawayo and the balance of 26 700 tonnes to the northern region straight from Mozambique.
"We are expecting the second ship to arrive anytime soon," he said.
Ambassador Nyikayaramba, however, did not disclose the source of the grain.
He applauded Mozambican authorities for cooperating with the Zimbabwean team in the movement of the grain.
During the 2018-19 summer cropping season, the country harvested 1 442 893 tonnes of maize leaving the country with a deficit of 761 332 tonnes of maize so imports were required to make up the deficit. The harvest this year has yet to be calculated.