Harare says it has imported enough food to feed Zimbabweans

HARARE -- Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government says it has acquired enough food to stave off starvation in the country.

Samuel Muvuti, who heads the government's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) told state radio yesterday that the Zimbabwe government had acquired 1.8 million tonnes of maize from its neighbours, enough to feed hungry Zimbabweans.

But Muvuti did not elaborate whether the maize was already in Zimbabwe or awaiting shipment to the country.

There were concerns from aid groups that the Zimbabwe government was still to make a formal appeal to the international community for food aid, more than a month after President Robert Mugabe admitted to World Food Programme director James Morris that the country needed food aid.

The United Nations says at least four million people, a quarter of the country's population, are in need of food aid or they will starve.

The Zimbabwean government had consistently rejected claims that the country needed aid with Mugabe telling food aid groups late last year to take their help elsewhere as the country had harvested enough to feed itself.

Mugabe only admitted the country was facing a food crisis days before a crucial election controversially won by his ruling ZANU PF party in late March.

Zimbabwe has virtually survived on food aid from donors after Mugabe wreaked the key agriculture sector five years ago through his violent land reforms which saw land being seized from the small white community for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline