The last consignment of the 42 000 tonne drought relief maize imported by Government has arrived in the country from Mozambican ports.

This comes as Government steps up efforts to ease maize-meal shortfalls caused by drought in the past two seasons.

Government imported 100 000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania late last year and Mozambican ports and Beitbridge were being used as entry points.

In a statement yesterday, Zimbabwean Ambassador to Mozambique Lieutenant General Douglas Nyikayaramba (Rtd) said the slight delay to clear the maize, which should have been cleared by mid this month, was mainly due to the slow turn-around of empty wagons.

“We can now confirm that all the drought relief grain from Genco Ardennes from both Maputo and Beira is now in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The last wagon from Beira, which had a technical fault, crossed Machipanda border post on March 25 2020.  A grain mobilisation team headed by Mr Allowance Sango, director for Strategic Policy Planning in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development was in Beira from March 7 to 10 2020 to get feedback on progress and issues or problems, which might have been faced during the loading of grain from Beira until delivery at the Grain Marketing Board in Zimbabwe.

“Another two-member team on grain monitoring was also in Beira from March 10 to 23, 2020, monitoring the grain movement on the ground and was headed by Colonel Pahla and was accompanied by an officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Mr Kwanisai.”

Ambassador Nyikayaramba said wheat from the second vessel was now being transported to Zimbabwe, adding that the delay of the 100 000 tonnes of wheat was caused by the process of clearing the drought relief maize first.

“The wheat from the second vessel ‘Lowlands Beacon,’ which berthed on 26 February 2020 is now being transported to Zimbabwe,” he said. The first 34 wagons were at Chicualacuala on March 25 2020.

“The delay in moving the wheat was allowed as part of efforts to clear the drought relief maize from Genco Ardennes first before moving the wheat.

“Information on the next vessel carrying drought relief maize is yet to be provided by the Manica Freight and Forwarding Agents.”

Ambassador Nyikayaramba applauded Mozambican authorities for cooperating with the Zimbabwean team in the movement of the grain.