HARARE (Reuters) – Drought-hit Zimbabwean will import more than 250,000 tonnes of maize from Mexico to fill the shortfall caused by the severe drought sweeping through the southern Africa, the agriculture minister said on Thursday.
Joseph Made said Zimbabwe would also import the staple crop from neighbours South Africa and Zambia, as well as from the Ukraine but did not give precise figures for these imports.
“We anticipate anyway upwards of 250,000 tonnes will be coming from Mexico. The other maize will obviously be coming from Zambia as well some from South Africa and Ukraine,” Made told reporters.
An El Nino-induced drought has hit southern Africa, slashing the output of the staple maize crop.
Zimbabwe’s government previously said the drought forced it to cut the 2015 growth forecast to 1.5 percent from 3.2 percent, with the 2016 output unlikely to be any better.
The U.N. World Food Programme said earlier in June that output in Zimbabwe would fall below 60 percent of the five-year average of between 700,000 and 1 million tonnes.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)