President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, has said Zimbabweans must stop eating maize — the country’s staple food — claiming the grain is stock feed unfit for human consumption.
Officially opening a girls’ dormitory named after her at Hande High School in Buhera, just a few kilometres from where she had curiously donated maize at her rally on Friday, Grace said she was no longer eating sadza — a cooked maize-meal that is not only common in Zimbabwe, but across southern Africa.
“Maize was not meant for human consumption at all, but as stock feed. Isn’t it so (Agriculture) minister (Joseph) Made?” she said.
“It’s better to eat millet sadza,” she suggested.
“I have long stopped eating it after I gained the knowledge. Knowledge is power. The food to eat is brown sadza, that is what our forefathers would eat,” Grace said.
Oddly, she later donated 300 tonnes of maize and 120 tonnes of rice among other basic goods.
This comes as the Manicaland District has produced a very poor crop, in spite of the good rains the usually arid area received this season.
“The soil is not fertile and it’s not meant for maize. People here should try to venture into small grains which grow well in this part of the country,” the First Lady said.
Earlier on, State minister for Manicaland, Mandi Chimene, had said locals needed to be encouraged to dump maize production due to perpetual crop failure.
“Maize is not your crop here and you need to consider migrating to small grain production. We have seen some fields with very poor crop. I hope amai (Grace Mugabe), they will listen to you if you tell them yourself,” she said.
Successful maize farming in the district has always been a long shot and has always been a perpetual exercise in futility.
At least 50 percent of the district is in natural farming region five, 35 percent in region four and 15 percent is in region three.