Govt acquires 700k tns food for work grain: GOVERNMENT has acquired 700 000 metric tones of grain from Zambia and overseas for the drought relief program, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, has said.
The minister said eight rural provinces were going to receive the grain as government launches food for work programme starting with Mashonaland West, President Robert Mugabe’s home area. She said the food for work programme was not new to Zimbabwe and it was going to be rolled out throughout the country soon.
“Our government is planning for drought relief until 2017 and we are focusing on eight provinces though we are facing some serious challenges which we are trying to resolve.
“We have also introduced the food for work programme where people will work and receive food and some little allowances from government,” Mupfumira said.
Last year, the Grain Marketing Board received more than 250 000 metric tones of grain from farmers and this year only 70 000 is expected.
Mupfumira said the importation of grain was difficult because all Southern African countries have been equally affected by drought.
“As of today, the country has stocks lasting for only two months and the nation needs about 30 000 metric tones of grain per month.
“Every week, we are receiving grain coming through Zambia and so far we have received 164 metric tones of grain. You are aware that South Africa is also importing grain hence, cannot supply us with the maize,” Mupfumira told journalists Monday.
Mupfumira also rubbished claims that some villagers in Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo provinces were being denied relief food on political grounds.
She said: “Absolute nonsense. Drought or hunger knows no party and it does not differentiate people on party lines.
“No one has been asked to produce a party card when receiving food aid in Zimbabwe and we do not look at political affiliations but, the food is not enough due to challenges the nation is facing.”
Zimbabwe has not been spared by the effects of El Nino phenomenon and the near collapse of the country’s agriculture caused by the land grab exercise and related government economic projects.