THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Central Statistical Office (CSO) have failed to provide proof of government claims of a bumper harvest. They failed to provide figures to the Parliamentar
y Portfolio Committee on Land and Agriculture more than two months after they were requested to supply the information.
The committee sent questions to the GMB at the beginning of June after parliament had ordered an assessment of the food situation in the country.
This followed serious disputes regarding grain stocks in the country, with government insisting that Zimbabwe will get a bumper harvest whilst independent surveys differed. The committee was expected to present a report to parliament before the end of the month.
The CSO has not yet submitted a response to the parliamentary committee and is yet to compile figures regarding this year’s harvest, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, the chairman of the committee, said last week.
The GMB produced an unsigned document this week before the committee, which didn’t have figures but only claimed that the country had sufficient food.
GMB officials who attended the meeting organised by the portfolio committee on Tuesday said they were not ready with the figures. GMB marketing director, Zvidzai Makwenda, told the meeting that acting chief executive officer Colonel Samuel Muvuti had taken urgent leave.
“It would be unfair for us to present anything, we are not prepared. If we could be given more time to go and prepare,” Makwenda said.
Ncube said his committee had been assessing the grain reserves in the country over the past month but could only come up with an informed position after obtaining figures from the GMB and the CSO.
“We need those figures and statistics, which should present a break down of what was harvested countrywide so that we could compare with the situation on the ground,” Ncube said.
Sources at the GMB and the CSO this week said both institutions were reluctant to provide statistics regarding the food situation because they could expose government, which has been claiming that the country will this year harvest 2,4 million tonnes of grain.