ZIMBABWE’S Department of Civil Protection is engaging local wholesalers to evenly distribute basic commodities, especially mealie meal to business centres across Beitbridge District, to boost food supplies during the ongoing fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
At least 20 000 people are estimated to be food insecure across the country’s southern district.
Currently, 10 200 people are benefiting from the Government’s drought relief programme in rural Beitbridge while efforts are being made to assist an additional 5000 people and another 4000 in the urban areas.
Beitbridge Department of Civil Protection Chairperson, Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu-Moyo, who is also the District Development Coordinator, said they have been assessing the availability of critical food items at both urban and rural centres.
She said although rural business centres are still stocked mostly with imported maize meal and other basic commodities, it is critical to have contingency measures in place.
“We have done our assessment and realized that most supermarkets in town open between 9am and 3pm and can easily access the basic commodities,” said Mrs Mafu-Moyo.
“These shops are observing standard recommended preventative measures against the spread of this condition. Where there are challenges the police are assisting.
“Generally basic food items are available in towns but we are working with the major wholesalers to make these available to the rural retailers.
“This should be done in a properly planned manner to minimize congestion at major dealers”.
According to the official, in some cases, sales of basic commodities will be done at centralized places in all the 15 rural wards.
She said although some still have imported foodstuffs from South Africa, they will have to replenish their stocks from local markets for the duration of the lockdown.
Mrs Mafu-Moyo said they will also work out transport logistics for those retailers who are able to travel from the rural areas to wholesalers in town.
The development comes a few days after the Grain Marketing Board announced that it is working with the Department of Social Welfare to expeditiously distribute grain across the country to assist vulnerable communities.