More relief maize arrives in Maputo
Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
ANOTHER consignment of 27 000 tonnes of drought relief maize imported by the Government arrived in Maputo yesterday and is expected to be railed into Zimbabwe soon.
This comes as the Government steps us efforts to ease mealie-meal shortages.
The consignment brings the maize received through Maputo so far to 42 000 tonnes after the first 15 000 tonnes that were received earlier and is already being brought into the country by rail.
Government has stepped up efforts to procure adequate supplies of maize to cover harvest shortfalls caused by drought in the past two seasons.
National Railways of Zimbabwe spokesperson Mr Nyasha Maravanyika yesterday confirmed the delivery of the consignment.
“As we speak there is a ship that will dock this afternoon (yesterday) in Maputo and the maize will be delivered into the country soon,” he said.
Mr Maravanyika said the NRZ had so far brought into the country 8 369 tonnes of maize from the 15 000 tonnes that is at the port in Maputo. “From the 15 000 tonnes that is in Maputo we have railed 8 369 tonnes leaving a balance of 6 631. We have 57 wagons that have arrived in Bulawayo, another 29 at Chicualacuala, 65 are at Rutenga while nine are at Dabuka,” he added.
Mr Maravanyika said a further nine wagons with maize imported from Tanzania were in Hwange. Government imported 100 000 tonnes from Tanzania late last year.
Mr Maravanyika, however, said the GMB needed to speed up the off-loading at its depots.
“The slow start process at GMB has affected the turnaround of the wagons to go and bring in the maize that is at the port. The incessant rains that were experienced in Maputo have also affected the delivery of the grain,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Mozambique, Retired Lieutenant General Douglas Nyikayaramba, also raised concern over the delays in moving the maize.
“We are expecting more maize today (yesterday) but the slow turnaround of wagons is of concern to us because we fear that the grain could be affected by the rains we are receiving,” Lt-Gen (Retired) Nyikayaramba said.
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.
Government has also allowed private entities to import maize to augment its efforts to cover the grain deficit.
The bulk of the maize being imported is coming from countries in the Sadc region.