Deadline for food assessment


Itai Dzamara

PARLIAMENT has given the Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture until the end of the month to finish investigations into the food situation.


<
FONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The House gave the committee an extension after it resumed sitting on Wednesday. The committee, which has been working since June, is expected to establish the country’s food needs.


Parliament mandated the committee to assess the food situation following conflicting claims by government and independent bodies regarding this year’s harvest.


President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly insisted that the country harvested enough grain and told donor agencies to look elsewhere for hungrier people.


The United Nations has however insisted that more than 2,5 million Zimbabweans would require food aid until the next harvest.


An independent local food assessment body Zimconsult and the Southern Africa Poverty Reduction Network as well as the Famine Early Warning System Network, said the country would face a deficit of between 600 000 and 800 000 tonnes of grain.


Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube of Zanu PF said the committee would meet on Tuesday to review the responses forwarded by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Central Statistical Office (CSO).


“We have been mandated to look into the food situation by the fifth session of parliament and we have to be through within the next month,” said Ncube.


“We will be meeting on Tuesday and will proceed thereafter. Basically we are looking at the conflicting reports, some of which say we have enough food and others that say we don’t. We will also look at the current wheat crop.”


Ncube added that the committee would use as the basis of its investigations submissions made by the GMB and CSO.