Slow cereal imports leave Zimbabwe facing major shortages

Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) - Zimbabwe's combined commercial and humanitarian cereal imports must triple from their current rate between now and March 2009 to meet the country's requirements for the remainder of the marketing year.

At the current rate, Zimbabwe could run out of cereals by early November. The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) plans to purchase at least 600,000 MT of maize from South Africa, but had only imported 175,000 MT by the end of August. The flow of humanitarian food imports has increased following removal of the GoZ ban on non-governmental organization (NGO) operations. The NGO Consortium for the Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE), which represents a major food aid pipeline into the country, is sufficiently resourced to cover food aid operations in 17 districts through the hungry season. However, the World Food Programme (WFP), operating in 40 districts, faces resource shortfalls that could lead to a mid-season food aid pipeline break if contributions are not received immediately.

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