ZIMBABWE has imported 13 187 tonnes of maize from South Africa, official figures from Harare’s biggest trading partner have revealed.
>Latest statistics released on February 4 by the South African Grain Information Service indicate that Harare has so far imported 11 830 tonnes of white maize and 1 357 tonnes of yellow maize.
The figures reveal that Zimbabwe has imported more than half of the 23 018 tonnes of maize exported by South Africa to other countries.
Agricultural minister Joseph Made on Tuesday refused to comment on the latest import data from South Africa simply saying “I wouldn’t know”, before terminating the interview.
Although the government has persistently said the country does not need food assistance, independent observers such as the World Food Programme and the Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) have said at least five million people are in need of food assistance.
In its January report Fewsnet classified Zimbabwe amongst priority-need nations — namely Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia which need food assistance.
The report said that in Somalia there are about 1,8 million people in need of food, Eritrea 2,2 million and Ethiopia 8,2 million.
“Staple food availability is declining as the market prices continue to rise,” the report said.
“High inflation and the Grain Marketing Board monopoly are exacerbating the situation. While cereals are still available in urban areas, continuing erosion of real incomes makes them unaffordable to many.”
The government has since dismissed the Fewsnet report saying that it was part of the hostile propaganda against the country by the US.