Fearing food and humanitarian crisis Zimbabwean government abolished a ban on imports of genetically modified corn for the first time in 12 years while the southern African nation begins to take action to avert what could be its worst famine.
Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri and the permanent secretary in the ministry, John Basera, could not be immediately reached for comment on the government initiative. Tafadzwa Musarara, chairman of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, also didn’t respond to messages and calls.
“Government weighs its position on genetically modified corn against the nutritional needs of the nation and proceeds guided by that assessment,” said Nick Mangwana, the government’s main spokesman, without saying if the ban has indeed been lifted.
Zimbabwe is battling its worst drought in 40 years and is in the midst of an economic collapse. That’s left about 8 million people, or more than half the population, in need of food aid.
The country’s corn harvest is expected to plunge by more than half this season and there is a likely supply deficit of between 800,000 tons and 1 million tons.
We can trace the trends to deficit since 2019 when 100,000 tonnes of maize have been imported by the country from Tanzania during a year, according to Japhet Hasunga, Tanzania’s Agriculture Minister and 79,283 tonnes have been transported from South Africa between May 2019 and January 2020, the South African Grain Information Services confirmed. But it is obvious that these import volumes just cannot be able to cover all the needs of the country, and that there are indeed grounds for such measures.