Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is set to move 100 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania as the country seeks to cover its grain deficit.
In July this year, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will import 800 000 tonnes of maize following last season’s drought which resulted in a poor harvest. The country, whose national grain requirement stands at 1,8 million tonnes, will be importing the bulk of the maize from Sadc countries.
In an interview on Friday, NRZ public relations manager, Mr Nyasha Maravanyika, said a logistical team comprising officials from his organisation, Government and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had been set up to move the grain into the country.
“We (NRZ) have been identified as one of the logistical players to look into the transportation of 100 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania through Zambia,” he said.
“The logistical team also comprises officials from Government and the GMB. As NRZ we now await instructions as to when the grain should be transported.”
On its website, Tazara (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority) said it had agreed with NRZ and GMB to transport maize from Makambako and Vwawa in Tanzania to Bulawayo, starting with 17 000 tonnes.
“Under the agreed terms, Tazara would load the commodity from Makambako and Vwawa and relay it to Zambia Railway Limited at New Kapiri Mposhi who would in turn pass it to NRZ at Livingstone, for final delivery to various destinations in Zimbabwe. The entire tonnage is expected to be transported within three months,” said Tazara.
Meanwhile, Government has enlisted commercial banks and more private sector players in the administration of a new financing model for Command Agriculture as it seeks a more sustainable means of financing agriculture to boost output.
The financing model will be implemented under a public private partnership arrangement with the ultimate goal being to mobilise financial resources for the sector.
The above approach is in line with the thrust of the 2019 National Budget and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which envisages the country becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Under the new financing model, Government will provide guarantees to banks to enable them to extend funding to farmers.
The financial institutions that have so far entered into partnership with Government are Agribank, CBZ and Stanbic Bank. — @okazunga