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Zimbabwe imports maize

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Zimbabwe plans to import 700 000 tons of the staple maize grain to compensate for a deficit after bad weather affected the crop from the current farming season, state radio reported on Tuesday.

It quoted Agriculture Minister Joseph Made as saying Zimbabwe had 150 000 tons of maize in stock and was intending to import to make up for the shortfall. Zimbabwe needs at least 1.8 million tons of maize annually and has over the years relied on imports from neighbouring countries, including Zambia and South Africa, to plug the gap from local production.

Domestic output is expected to drop by 35 percent to 950 000 tons this year compared with 2014, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has said.

Earlier this year the government, anticipating a low maize harvest, lifted a ban on imports it had imposed last year.