The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has entered into partnerships with Transnet Freight Rail of South Africa and Mozambique’s ports and railways company (CFM – Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique) to transport 6 000 tonnes of maize daily into Zimbabwe to avert hunger, general manager Lewis Mukwada told The Southern Times.
According to Zimbabwe’s Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Joseph Made the Southern African country needs to import over 700,000 tonnes of maize between May 2015 and the next harvest in 2016 to avert food crisis following the dry spell that affected crops in most parts of the region.
The 700,000 tonnes of maize to be imported is a cautionary figure that would cushion the country in terms of food supply in case the 2015/16 harvest turns bad.
If it turns bad more maize will be imported and the Zimbabwean government has put measures in place for that eventuality.
Maize is the staple food in the southern region. Mukwada said some hired locomotives and wagons will also be used to transport maize in Zimbabwe where possible.
“We have made arrangements with two regional rail companies namely: Transnet Freight Rail of South Africa and Mozambique’s ports and railways company (CFM – Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique) so that we can pull together our resources to expedite the movement of grain into Zimbabwe to avert hunger.
The grain will be ferried from ports in Maputo and Beira (Mozambique) and other ports in South Africa,” he said.
“We are also making arrangements with Transnet Freight Rail to assist us with about 20 to 30 wagons and three locomotives to ferry grain into Zimbabwe and other areas inside the country where there is railway infrastructure. Mozambican railway company’s wagons will also be used for distribution of maize in the country. All these arrangements will enable us to move 6 000 tonnes of maize into the country every day.”
“Generally maize for that will come through Mozambique, we will use our own locomotives and those of CFM and maize through South Africa we will use mainly South African Railways wagons and locomotives.
To move the grain about 1 300 wagons and 80 locomotives are required.
With the Zambian Government announcing its ban on maize exports, Zimbabwe and other Southern African Development Community now have to import maize from South America from countries such as Brazil and Argentina.
Source: The Southern Times