Zimbabwe steps up maize imports from zambia

According to sources at the border post including those from Ministry of Agriculture, Zimbabwe once the breadbasket of Southern Africa, is importing maize at a faster rate.

”We are clearing at least 25 trucks with 30 tonnes of maize daily since mid February” an official in inspectorate department that approves agricultural commodities to meet local standards told Radio VOP here. The official refused to have his name published.

Other sources said the imported maize was destined for Grain Marketing Board’s Masasa depot in Harare before its distribution to drought prone regions of Masvingo, Midlands and Matebeleland among others.

”Although the Government move to import maize is noble, we suspect that it is being done ahead of possible elections this year as Zanu (PF) will use food as a campaign tool,” said the source.

Zanu (PF) party blames Non Government Organisations supporting food aid as propping up mainly Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Radio VOP could not immediately get a comment from agriculture minister Joseph Made.

Zambia is expecting 2,8 million tonnes of maize in 2010/11 season an increase from 2,7 million tonnes harvested the previous year.

Zambian agriculture minister Eustarckio Kazingo told Reuters news agency recently that the country maize output will exceed the previous year. According to the state run Food Reserve Agency, Zambia planned to export 500 000 tonnes to countries within Southern Africa.