|In Blue worksuit Tarisai Mudambanyuki (THZ Agric General Manager), Minister Chadzamira, Minister Masuka and THZ Managing Director Aiden Mhere|
CHIREDZI - Minister of Lands Dr Anxious Masuka has said that Zimbabwe loses about 450 000 metric tonnes of maize to stock feed saying during poor farming season, millers prioritise venturing into the production of stock feed because it is an uncontrolled area.
Dr Masuka, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira, last week toured the 3 000 hectares of maize and sorghum at Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe's Hippo Valley and Triangle Estates.
Tongaat has recently harvested 2 800 metric tonnes of maize, with 900 metric tonnes having already been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Dr Masuka said that the country achieves food security by growing sufficient maize and reducing competition between people and livestock.
"You achieve food security by growing sufficient maize for those that have a pallet for maize. We also achieve food security by reducing competition between people and livestock because we are using 450 000 metric tonnes of maize for feed.
"Millers in bad years prefer to do feed because they make more money since it is not controlled. So we are saying that millers should use traditional grains as alternative to maize so that maize becomes available for people so we need more of this (traditional grains)," said Dr Masuka.
Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe, through its commitment to fight hunger in Masvingo province, increased its hectrage from last season's 327 hectares, where it delivered 1 186 tonnes of maize grain, to 2 400 hectares of commercial maize this year.
Winter maize project was introduced by the then Governor for Masvingo province, Josaya Hungwe, after the 1992 drought.
Tongaat agriculture general manager, Tarisai Mudambanyuki said they have since harvested 1 300 hectares, where they have delivered 900 tonnes of maize grain to GMB and have since shelled 1 900 tonnes.
"We have committed a total of 3 000 hectares of which 2 400 was planted with commercial maize which we are currently harvesting. We have harvested about 1 300 hectares and to date we have shelled about 1 900 tonnes and delivered 900 tonnes which is more than what we delivered from last year's crop," said Mudambanyuki.
Since 2018, THZ had been partnering Masvingo Development Trust (MDT) to produce winter maize.
This year, from the 3 000 hectares devoted by THZ, 1 000 hectares was grown under partnership with MDT.