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Facing Critical Shortages, Zimbabwe Says It Will Import Tanzanian Maize

Zimbabwe's state grain monopoly said it intended to import 200,000 metric tonnes of maize from Tanzania to stave off looming critical food shortages, but the Tanzanian press published comments from local officials saying no such sales were agreed.

Grain Marketing Board Acting Chief Executive Officer Samuel Muvuti announced the agency's intentions in an interview broadcast Wednesday by state television. But he told VOA on Thursday that no specific grain purchase agreements were in place.

United Nations agencies and other organizations monitoring food security warn that some 4 million Zimbabweans will need food aid between now and early 2008.

Agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara, speaking with reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, accused the government of issuing misleading statements because it is no longer concerned about its image.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...