AGRICULTURE minister Joseph Made has for the first time admitted that Zimbabwe is facing serious grain shortages and that the country has been importing the commodity to bridge the gap.
Responding to questions in parliament last Wednesday,
Made confessed that government had been having problems in providing maize to millers. “Indeed, we have been having a problem of supplying grain to the millers,” Made said in response to a question by Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson.
“We have been balancing the distribution between what we have already collected and what we have imported. We have now given authority to the GMB to make sure that our stocks now meet the shortfall on importation on a weekly basis.”
Made attributed part of the shortages to transport problems caused by fuel unavailability, saying there had been “some marginal movements in the supply of the grain but it has not been enough”.
“The issue has been that when we tell the millers to collect, let us say from Aspindale, everybody will be going there because it will be much cheaper than going to Concession in terms of transportation costs,” he said.
Made also partly blamed millers for the shortages, saying they should mill and deliver mealie-meal as soon as they receive the grain.
“We know that at times, millers will tend to hold on to some mealie-meal. There have been issues that there will be price movements and so on but I would want to say that there is nothing like that at the moment,” he said.