In a move to avert a severe food crisis, Zimbabwe said it has secured a $200 million loan from the African Export-Import Bank to buy grain from outside the country.
According to NewsDay newspaper, the money will be used for purchasing the much-needed maize for the country currently gripped by a crippling dry spell that has left more than 5,000 cattle dead in some provinces.
The country needs more than two million tonnes of grain annually to feed its population.
At least 250,000 tonnes are left in the nation’s strategic grain reserves.
Food expert Reverend Forbes Matonga told Studio 7 the development was welcome but the $200 million loan won’t go far considering that this year’s crop is another failure due to poor rains.
“I think it is a very significant step in that it shows that at least there is acceptance that there is shortage, however, I think their efforts alone will not be sufficient to deter the looming hunger,” Reverend Matonga.
Matonga said the only place where the government could buy maize is from Brazil because neighbors Zambia and South Africa who used to sell to Zimbabwe have since stopped for fear of the extreme El Nino effects.
Zimbabwe has since 2006 maintained that it will not allow the importation of genetically modified organisms despite the country facing imminent hunger threats.
The product can only be allowed into the country in the form of mealie-meal.