By Nyemudzai Kakore
This season’s anticipated bumper harvest will promote economic stability, as it will enhance food security and reduce pressure on the fiscus, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said. Minister Chinamasa said Government and the private sector would, therefore, not spend resources on grain imports, resulting in huge foreign currency savings.
Addressing students at the Zimbabwe Defence University on the effects of Zimbabwe’s current challenges on development and national security on Wednesday, Minister Chinamasa said food security was key to promoting peace in any economy as a “hungry population is a threat to peace and stability.”
As such, he said, the country’s strategic grain reserves now stood at 247 016 tonnes, which were enough to keep the country going for six months.
At least 41 189 tonnes are needed monthly.
“The food security is at a level that we never had before,” said Minister Chinamasa. “As l pointed out, we already have six months’ supply, that is before we start buying the maize from the 2016-2017 marketing season.
“We are anticipating at least two million metric tonnes. We are hoping that of that two million, about one million tonnes will be delivered to GMB. And we have already mobilised resources to buy the entire crop at $390 per tonnes in the case of maize and small grains. Zimbabwe is food secure until the next season.
“The country’s economic situation is gradually improving due to pragmatic policies that Government has been implementing. We now have a fairly solid foundation for sustainable recovery.”
Minister Chinamasa said the high yields would also reduce inflation and balance of payments accounts.
He said Government’s interventions such as the Special Maize Programme under Command Agriculture, the Presidential Inputs Scheme and the More Food International Programme had aided the favourable harvest season.
He said for this winter’s farming programme, Government was coming up with a command winter wheat programme that was estimated to grow 50 000 hectares of wheat, which would result in 300 000 tonnes harvest.