Zimbabwe starts US$500 mln programme to boost maize production

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ZIMBABWE has started rolling out a US$500 million program to boost maize production to meet domestic food demand.

The three-year plan is aimed at raising plantings and expanding irrigation to increase production of the dietary staple to two million metric tonnes a year, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters on Monday. The country harvested 742 000 tonnes of corn in the 2014-15 season, less than the 1.8 million tons needed by the Zimbabwean population.

Zimbabwe is suffering food shortages as rural parts of the country have been hit by the worst drought in at least two decades. Southern African countries need US$2,7 billion to cope with the effects of the dryness that’s left 23 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to the SADC regional body.

In June, the United Nations’ World Food Programme stopped giving some people money to buy food in its initiative that helps 300 000 people affected by drought in Zimbabwe because of the nation’s lack of dollars.-Bloomberg

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