Zimbabwe set to import maize from Uganda

PRETORIA – Zimbabwe is set to import maize from Uganda to avert hunger due to drought and economic challenges in what was once southern Africa’s bread basket.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni offered him maize when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the recent African Union summit in Ethiopia, the Sunday Mail reported.

Mnangagwa has already deployed a team led by lands, agriculture, water and rural resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri to Uganda to thrash out the modalities of importing the much-needed grain, the paper said.

The Zimbabwe leader said his country had previously managed to withstand two consecutive droughts because of grain reserves accumulated beforehand.

However, about eight million Zimbabweans now faced food insecurity due to the latest drought which had left over 45,000 cattle dead in the Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.

“Those reserves, with this current drought, have been exhausted and this is why we are now diverting all funds which had been targeted for capital projects to procure grain to feed the people,” the Sunday Mail quoted Mnangagwa as saying.

Zimbabwe’s government is working with international partners including the United Nations World Food Programme to provide food aid where needed.

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has imported 50,000 tonnes of maize from neighbouring South Africa to mitigate shortages.

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