Zimbabwe goes for Brazilian maize amid drought

HARARE, May 17, 2024 – The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe [GMAZ] has embarked on a crucial mission to Brazil to source maize grain in response to a catastrophic drought that has hit the southern African country.

GMAZ Chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara said the 20-member delegation is negotiating the delivery of approximately 400,000 metric tonnes of both yellow and white maize.

“We are here to negotiate and conclude supplies to arrive in Zimbabwe starting at the end of July 2024,” Musarara told online publication late Thursday.

The Brazilian grain is expected to supplement the insufficient local produce and current imports from neighbouring South Africa, which has fared relatively better in crop yield.

Musarara said, emphasizing the critical timing of these negotiations. The intended supply arrangement is set to span from September 2024 to August 2025, providing a much-needed buffer against food security challenges.

The 2023/24 agricultural season in Zimbabwe suffered immensely due to an El Nino-induced drought, leading to a poor harvest.

This severe shortfall has placed millions of Zimbabweans at risk of hunger, prompting urgent action from GMAZ.

Enter Ethiopia

Ethiopia has earned a billion US dollars from its coffee exports in the first ten months of the 2023/24 ending April financial ending on May 8, 2024, says head of the sector regulator.

The revenue figure has shown an improvement as compared to similar months last year due to a surge in the volume of coffee shipped to the global market.

In a statement on Saturday, General Director of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority Adugna Debela said he was “very much privileged to share that our coffee sale to the international market has seen a substantial increase”.

A total of 209,000 tons of coffee has been shipped to the global market over the past ten months, generating one billion US dollars, said Debela.

“This surge in export is attributed to a new market option that has eliminated unnecessary steps in the supply chain,” the General Director said.

According to him, the country exported 29,000 tons more coffee compared to the same period in the preceding 2022/23 fiscal year during a total of 240,000 tons of beans valued at $1.3 billion supplied to the global market.

However, the ten month export performance shows that the Authority’s ambition to make record $1.7 billion earnings off the commodity this year is unlikely to be met.

Ethiopia, the world’s third-largest Arabica coffee producer behind Brazil and Colombia, relies on earnings from the crop as a major source of foreign exchange. The country also consumes half of what it produces.

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