Zimbabwe to import maize from Zambia, Malawi to plug grain shortfall

HARARE, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe will import maize from neighboring Zambia and Malawi and wheat from cheaper source markets to avert shortages and price increases, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said Monday.

Addressing a press conference, Ncube said there was a looming shortage of maize meal and flour in the market which needs to be averted through quick importation of the grain.

"Government has noted that there is a looming shortage of maize meal and flour in the market which has resulted in the sharp increase of the price of bread and mealie-meal to levels which the ordinary citizens cannot afford.

"Whilst the levels of our Strategic Grain Reserve are relatively below ideal levels, there is, nevertheless, an urgent need for the government to intervene to bring stability in the price and supply of maize meal and bread flour in the economy.

"Given the envisaged shortfall of both maize and wheat during the current season, the government will expedite the importation of maize available in Malawi and Zambia, while wheat will be sourced from cheaper source markets," Ncube said.

Zimbabwe's maize harvest declined to 1.8 million tonnes in the 2021/22 season from 2.7 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 season due to erratic rainfall. This year's maize output is 400,000 tonnes short of the yearly national requirement of 2.2 million tonnes.

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