Deputy Agriculture Minister Seiso Moyo says private millers are expected to start importing maize from neighboring nations as grain stocks have seriously diminished in the country with just only 215,000 tonnes left in national silos.
Moyo told VOA Studio 7 the merchants will complement efforts being made by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in buying and importing maize and wheat for domestic consumption.
He said the GMB which was the only entity engaged in these activities, is failing to meet national needs as it owes transporters, farmers and other creditors millions of dollars due to lack of funds.
Zimbabwe needs at least 1.2 million tonnes of maize a year. The majority of starving people, mostly in rural areas, say they are currently not receiving state-funded drought relief aid.
Moyo said maize supplies will improve when private millers start importing maize and wheat.
“We are facing critical shortages of maize but we hope that private companies will play a key role in boosting grain supplies,” he said.
The United Nations World Food Program says more than 1.6 million Zimbabweans will need food aid just before the next crop harvest.