Zimbabwe needs $300m for food imports

2015-06-16 15:40
Sack with dollars from Shutterstock

Sack with dollars from Shutterstock

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Harare- The fact that Zimbabwe has to find $300m to import food this year because of a massive drop in maize production is due to the ruling party's ruinous agricultural policies, the main opposition party said Tuesday.

The situation in Zimbabwe could not be "more desperate than what it is right now", said Obert Gutu, a spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe used to be known as the breadbasket of Southern Africa. On Monday, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said $300m was needed for food imports.

"For the record, I want to assure that government will do all in its power to ensure that no one starves and that everyone gets food of adequate nutritional value," Mnangagwa told state-run ZBC radio.

Mnangagwa, who was speaking at the launch of a report by the UN World Food Programme, said maize production had decreased by 49% and hoped the next harvest would be "significantly better than this one".

The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned that food shortages could reach crisis levels by July if there was no food aid.

President Robert Mugabe’s government insists that the poor harvests since the launch of a programme of takeovers of white-owned farms in 2000 were due to drought.

The 91-year-old however admitted earlier this year that some new black farmers were unable to manage their farms. Support had largely tailed off for small-scale farmers, who in the past produced sizeable maize crops.

Gutu said in a statement: "Robert Mugabe and his rogue administration are bankrupt and are unable to harness adequate financial resources in order to import the maize that is now urgently required."

Former education minister David Coltart, a member of a smaller MDC grouping, said in a tweet on Tuesday: "Until we grant title to land holders and reverse ZANUPF's destructive policy of making land dead capital we will never address food security."

The official Herald newspaper said the $300m was being sourced "from different stakeholders".

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  farming

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