Food shortages: Zim buys maize from Zambia

2012-05-08 07:47

Special Report

Mugabe's senile, says Tsvangirai
Mugabe's senile, says Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has described long time leader Robert Mugabe as "a senile president with a vituperative wife".

Harare - Zimbabwe's northern neighbour Zambia says it has struck a deal to sell 300 000 tons of maize to ease food shortages in Zimbabwe, the region's former breadbasket.

The Zambian state Food Reserve Agency said in a statement made available on Monday in Harare that the sale will reduce that country's food surplus by half.

A decade ago, Zimbabwe exported food to Zambia, a mining hub. The reverse in fortunes comes after Zimbabwe's often-violent seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms since 2000 that disrupted the agriculture-based economy and drove many white farmers into Zambia to develop underutilised land there.

In November, the United Nations said 1.5 million Zimbabweans would need food aid through 2012 and appealed for $258m in donor funding to buy it.

The Zambian maize, worth about $50m, is being sold through private grain dealers, the food agency said.

Zimbabwe needs about 2.2 million tons of maize, the staple food, a year. But according to official estimates, there is a deficit of about 800 000 tons because of depleted stocks and erratic rains.

The Food Reserve Agency in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, said current harvests are expected to leave a surplus of more than 1m tons of maize that the country no longer has the capacity to store. It said it is tapping regional export markets.

Economic meltdown

Zambian maize sells for about $170 a ton. Imports into southern Africa in the past decade from as far afield as Canada and Argentina have gone for more than $300 a ton.

Farmers' leaders say Zambia, which once had the region's highest urban population and was dominated by mining in the central Copperbelt region, adopted an aggressive agricultural expansion programme that has embraced white farmers from Zimbabwe.

 Since 2008 the country has implemented land tenure and investment guarantees and loans for production along with logistical incentives that saw improvements in the supply of specialised seeds, fertilizers, materials and farming equipment for small-scale and commercial farmers.

Since 2000, about 4 500 white farmers have been forced to leave their Zimbabwe properties because of a land redistribution programme for blacks that Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe said was intended to correct colonial-era imbalances in land ownership.

Prime properties were handed over to military and security chiefs and Mugabe party loyalists, many of whom have left them to lie idle. In years of economic meltdown, irrigation systems have collapsed and acute power and water outages and the absence of title deeds or collateral for loans have crippled remaining farming operations.


Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zambia  |  zimbabwe  |  agriculture  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe land reforms


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.