Some senior Grain Marketing Board (GMB) officials and villagers in Gwanda Central are reportedly diverting drought relief aid and selling it for up to $10 a bucket as the food situation deteriorates in Zimbabwe.
According to parliamentary agriculture committee member, Patrick Dube, the diversion of drought relief aid has left thousands of people without food in most parts of Matabeleleand South.
Dube said a 10 kilogram bucket of maize which fetches $5 in retail shops is now being sold for $10 dollars in the black market.
He claimed that the maize is being diverted by some politicians linked to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and several GMB officials who were not available for comment.
“One of the local councilors is working hand in hand in these shady grain deals with as aspiring senator linked to the former ruling party,” said Dube.
He said the government needs to intervene to stop the illegal maize deals.
The United Nations World Food Program said recently that it is closely monitoring the crippling drought situation in the country and lobbying stakeholders for the provision of food and other resources to the affected families.
Zimbabwe has pledged 35,000 tonnes of maize and the WFP is working with other organizations to secure additional aid.
Close to 1.6 million people, 60 percent higher than the one million that needed assistance during the last lean season, will need food aid by March next year.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom and Australia have provided $11.5 million to help Zimbabwean smallholders farmers under the food and agricultural organisation’s agricultural inputs program.