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Govt to channel 30k tonnes of grain monthly to social welfare programme

The food deficit mitigation programme, under which the Government provides vulnerable households with grain, will require up to 30 000 metric tons per month, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said the Grain Marketing Board was holding sufficient stocks to meet demand.

He was responding to questions during the post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday.

“We have recently received a request from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare indicating that we require up to 30 000 tonnes monthly for social welfare, even if you stretch that up
over 10 months to the next harvest next year, that is only 300 000 and certainly, we have more than that in the strategic grain reserve. So, I am very comfortable with the stocks,” he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has assured the nation that no one would go hungry as a result of the lean harvest last season.

He said the government was already working on an efficient food distribution system nationally so that enough grain could be quickly moved to all areas in need.

He said should it become necessary, the security arms would be enlisted to assist in moving grain to the needy in far-flung areas.

The 2021/22 farming season was characterised by late rains and a mid-season drought, resulting in low yields compared to the previous season.

The Second Republic, spurred by the mantra of leaving no place and no one behind is championing several household and national food self-sufficiency programmes across the country, including the widely acclaimed climate-smart agriculture model commonly referred to as Pfumvudza/Intwasa.

In addition, the government has included sunflower seeds among the inputs given to farmers, as it seeks to substitute imports of sunflower oil.

Further, to mitigate the effects of climate change, the government is constructing several dams as part of a deliberate strategy to move away from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation.

The new water bodies, some of which have already been completed, are expected to assist food-insecure communities through providing water for irrigation and fish from fishery projects.

The government expects to open up at least 50 000 hectares of land per year under an accelerated irrigation development programme.

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