Zimbabwe is food secure and does not have any immediate plans to import grain despite the poor start to the 2021-2022 season.
This was revealed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his weekly column, None but Ourselves, published in the Sunday of June 5, 2022.
The revelation comes after some construed media reports that there was a national deficit following the announcement by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) that it was importing about 400 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia and Malawi.
This announcement by GMAZ was further followed by new measures which were introduced by government to tackle the issue of side-marketing following revelations that contract farmers were not fulfilling their end of the bargain by delivering their produce to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Both cases, were however interpreted to mean that there was grain scarcity in the country raising fears of a looming food crisis among the citizens.
However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa assured the nation that the country was in a good position food-wise and had enough grain stocks to meet its national requirements.
President Mnangagwa clarified both the GMAZ grain imports as well as government’s decision to curb side-marketing of maize in the country.
“In respect of GMAZ, it is Government policy that grain users in the private sector, grouped as GMAZ, should meet 40 percent of their grain needs,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Where such arrangements fall short of 40 percent of their grain requirements, GMAZ is expected to meet the shortfall through purchases or imports paid from own funds. The announcement of grain imports by GMAZ is thus meant to plug the shortfall which GMAZ faces, for its members to meet 40 percent of their grain requirements in line with the aforementioned policy.
“This is not a Government grain import programme. For the record and for the avoidance of any doubt, Government is yet to take decision to import grain. Our grain stocks are enough to meet national food requirements.”
President Mnangagwa further cleared the confusion surrounding the measures which were announced by his government to deal with grain side-marketing in the country.
“With regards to measures we have announced in respect of grain movements in the country this marketing season, the goal is to ensure all farmers contracted by Government through selected banks to produce grain deliver their harvests to GMB which is the sole agency for collecting all grain funded by Government under that contract scheme,” he said.
“Instead of delivering produce to GMB, they side-market their produce to private buyers, either directly or through third parties to beat traceability. The other trick is stocking up harvests on the farm until the end of marketing season, to then dispose stocks through side-marketing after marketing season.
“All these are fraudulent and expectedly invite the harsh hand of the law. Worse, they spoil things for genuine farmers who abide by terms of their contracts,” he said.