GOVERNMENT has imported close to 300 000 tonnes of maize since January with the bulk of the imports coming through Beitbridge Border Post, NewsDay has learnt.
According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), 143 725 tonnes were hauled through Beitbridge where a fast lane for hundreds of trucks carrying the staple food has been created to ensure the maize quickly gets to the country’s estimated eight million food insecure families.
Zimra spokesperson Francis Chimanda yesterday confirmed the existence of the fast lane for maize.
“It is true that we opened a fast and dedicated lane for maize imports to facilitate the quick and efficient movement of the grain into Zimbabwe because of its national importance,” he said.
“The commodity is low-risk and where there is suspicion or where the transporter is high-risk we can always subject the cargo to a scan since there is a mobile scanner along the fast lane.”
“Total quantity of maize imported into Zimbabwe through Beitbridge from the 1st of January 2020 to end of February 2020 is 143 725 tonnes. Total quantities imported through other ports (Forbes/Plumtree/Bulawayo) is 78 727 tonnes.”
Beitbridge residents have, however, raised concern that the fast lane could lead to the spread of coronavirus as the truck drivers were not being screened.
“We must understand these drivers are coming from a country (South Africa) that has confirmed cases of the dreaded disease. The drivers should, without failure be screened,” said one Beitbridge resident Bright Mateza.
“We could survive the hunger but succumb to coronavirus,” Mateza added.