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Minister Declines to Declare Zimbabwe Drought A National Disaster

Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development Minister, Joseph Made, says the drought that has hit most parts of Zimbabwe resulting in a grain deficit of 700,000 tonnes does not justify it being declared a national disaster.

The country needs about 1.4 million tonnes of maize per year.

Made was responding to Musikavanhu legislator, Prosper Mutseyami of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai who wanted to know if the government was going to declare the drought a national disaster.

Already, in some parts of country that are hardest hit especially Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicand and the Midlands provinces where crops are almost a complete write off, families are going hungry before the peak food deficit period that starts around June.

In March this year, government gave private players the green light to import maize.

Earlier this year Made said the whole southern African region was facing a serious drought in 2015. He said, “If South Africa is importing then the situation is bad.”

In 2000, Made took a helicopter ride around the country and on that basis declared that Zimbabwe was going to enjoy a bumper harvest but it turned out to be one of the worst drought years since independence.

Bulawayo central lawmaker, Dorcas Sibanda, who is an MDC-T member and also sits on the parliamentary portfolio committee on finance, told VOA Studio 7 Made is making a mistake in not declaring the drought a national disaster.