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Gov’t urges farmers to embrace Zimbabwe maize export deal

The government has started mobilizing farmers and companies to supply maize grain to Zimbabwe in response to a request by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The move is aimed at averting hunger due to drought and economic challenges in Zimbabwe, once a breadbasket for the rest of southern Africa. 

Mnangagwa made the request through President Yoweri Museveni when they met at the just concluded African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has been quoted saying that Zimbabwe had previously endured two consecutive droughts that have drained all the food reserves,  leaving up to eight million nationals on the verge of starvation. 

A poor harvest in 2014/15, historic drought in 2015/16, and the second-worst cyclone on record in 2019 have taken a toll on Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), creating dire consequences for a country whose population entirely depends on rain-fed agriculture.

According to a December 2019 Famine Early Warning Network System (Fewsnet) report about southern Africa, the October 2019 to March 2020 season started poorly with widespread rainfall deficits, forecasting models anticipate a below-average rainfall through March including in surplus-producing Zambia and South Africa.  

Mnangagwa is optimistic that supply from Uganda will offset the domestic shortfall of maize corn of about 1 million tons. Zimbabwe’s corn consumption is about 2.2 million tons per year, yet Uganda has at least six million tons of maize with the ability to consume half of it. 

Agriculture minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja says that a team from Zimbabwe is already here to inspect stores alongside Uganda Grain Council, and assessing the possibility of buying Ugandan grain. Ssempijja advised Ugandans to embrace the deal and venture into grain farming looking at the prospects.

He says several other southern Africa countries have expressed interest in buying grain from Uganda. State minister for Animal Husbandry Bright Rwamirama says that so far grain companies are working with individual farmers to mobilize grains for export.

Without disclosing the quantity needed,  Rwamirama says that the government could be at least able to supply half of what they need. He says the process has now started with mobilization of farmers and grain dealers.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has hailed Uganda for its move to export to Zimbabwe, saying there is a need to promote more exports. Antonio Querido the FAO country representative says that Uganda is rich in arable land and it can be the food basket again.      

Below-average production has also been predicted in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe while South Africa and Mozambique, the region’s largest maize grain producer, are likely to produce average to below-average agricultural production.

Comments

-3 #1 Lysol 2020-02-18 21:39
Man-Made Starvation' Threatens Half of Zimbabwe's Population

Mugabe should have never grabbed the white farmers land i the first place. The same thing your Museveni is trying to grab peasant lands for growing sugar cane.

The corn (aka maize) grown in Uganda will not be nutritious enough to feed the Zimbabweans, Their problem stems from having one leader (dead Mugabe) staying in power for too long and making many mistakes.

Instead of Uganda try to cash-in and exploit the situation, it should learnt from Mugabe's saga. Arrogant corrupt dictators who overstay in power always live their population suffering. Uganda will end up the same way, a failed chaotic state. Unless something is done to change the regime.
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-4 #2 Lysol 2020-02-18 21:45
On another note the corrupt regime of Uganda may be trying to trap those whites farmers which Mugabe kicked out to come and grab land in Uganda, in order to grow corn to feed Zimbabwe.

Corn ,aka maize is mostly fed to livestocks(cows) in many developed countries and not as a staple food.

Zimbabweans should learn to eat other more nutritional food, instead of maize. Kenyans are doing the same to not rely on maize alone.
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+1 #3 Wainanchi 2020-02-19 02:22
Crop collections are one of basic problems Uganda is facing today We must return to olden times when we had agricultural cooperatives organizing all this

To appeal to farmers to se their produce where,at what points,what prices??

We have lots of paid Government experts who sit in their offices and talk for hours with no practical solutions.

I would ,if they are not efficient,kick them out and replace with hard working and practical public servants..
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0 #4 Mandela 2020-02-19 05:04
As usual corn production is going to become army business instead of the ordinary uganda (You know what am talking about; just like fish, coffee. etc.

This is why cooperatives are needed
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0 #5 MUSTAPHER 2020-02-19 10:36
Its good for Govt to secure such a deal However, personally i wouldn't recommend exporting Grain because i exporting Grain we lose Jobs in terms of milling, power ,Packing materials plus Maize brand. All these are lost once grains are exported.

The best way would be them to set standards and we export Flour so that we reap more in terms of Value addition.
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+1 #6 Namatovu Rose 2020-02-19 10:56
how to join the market
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0 #7 Lakwena 2020-02-19 13:12
The skeptic that I am, whoever farmer listens to the deal between the two "Problems of Africa" Mr. M7 and Mr. Mnangagwa, will lose his/her shirt/skirt.

In other words, just as they lost their shirts and skirts in South Sudan; Ugandans enter into a Grain/Maize deal with a failed economy like Zimbabwe at own risk.

Moreover, the distance between the two counties is prohibitive, because, the cost and risk of transportation, is not worth the efforts.
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-1 #8 Lakwena 2020-02-19 15:39
Quoting Wainanchi:
Crop collections are one of basic problems Uganda is facing today We must return to olden times when we had agricultural cooperatives organizing all this

To appeal to farmers to se their produce where,at what points,what prices??

We have lots of paid Government experts who sit in their offices and talk for hours with no practical solutions.

I would ,if they are not efficient,kick them out and replace with hard working and practical public servants..


In other words Wainainchi, where were you when Mr. M7 and step brother, Salim Saleh were looting, grabbing the Uganda Grain Miller, closing Cooperatives and liquidating the Cooperative and UCB Banks?
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+1 #9 Sabiti 2020-02-19 22:53
Contrary to what others have posted here, I think this is an excellent move by our government to create market for our produce.

I remember slightly over a year ago, people left maize to rot in the gardens because there was nowhere they could sell them and the price had sropped to its lowest.

In Uganda, we produce a lot of maize but we hardly eat posho at home (in schools, yes). But there is always market for maize in the Southern African countries where maize is the staple food.

The Southern African countries often experience shortage of maize meal because they have only one season for growing maize.

What the government has done in this case is what we expect it to do; we should therefore applaud this move by our government. We should not be hearing about people leaving their crops to rot in the market because of lack of market as happened recently with pineapples in Luwero.
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0 #10 Wainanchi 2020-02-20 08:45
Quoting Namatovu Rose:
how to join the market


Dear Rose,
It should be some government or parastatal entity to collect produce and pay.

But problem in Uganda is honesty Those who are handling money are like bee keepers...they like to lick so much honey that you get little.

Iganda problem is that people are greedy and like 3asuly to steal.Sorry but it is true.
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