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In 2019 I applauded the Zimbabwean government for having grasped the urgency of a potential maize shortage in time and outlining a plan to address it. This after Joseph Gondo, chief director of Zimbabwe’s agriculture ministry, told Bloomberg on June 6 that the country’s Grain Marketing Board, a state-owned agency, would float an international tender to import 750,000 tons of maize.

While this was set to be the largest maize import volume since the 2016/2017 season, it was somewhat less than what I thought the country needed to fill the shortage in the 2019/2020 marketing year of 1-million tons. Nonetheless, I was encouraged by the government’s proactive stance...

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