Logistics for food security in Zimbabwe, an economic analysis for maize availability

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Rugube, Lovemore M.
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This study presents an economic analysis of the logistics for food security in Zimbabwe. The study emphasizes an economic analysis of maize availability, as maize is the major staple food crop in Zimbabwe. The country has to maintain stable maize supplies to meet part of the food security objectives. The study presents a methodology which outlines alternative strategic options designed to solve transitory food security problems related to maize availability. The methodology is used to demonstrate how the logistics involved in assuring maize supply stability for a staple food can be evaluated. It should be noted that this method of analysis can be extended to evaluating other alternative crops. For the strategies outlined, cost analysis is used to evaluate two strategic options which would maintain stable maize supplies. The first strategic option is: the country will maintain strategic reserve stores equivalent to 12 months consumption requirements. The second strategic option is: the country will maintain strategic reserve stores equivalent to 5 months consumption requirements and use hard currency to import deficit consumption requirements of maize until the next harvest. Results show that the second strategic option, of maintaining 5 months strategic stores and using hard currency to import the deficit consumption requirements until the next harvest is a preferred option. Sensitivity analysis performed on the cost variables show that the overall cost is most sensitive to the opportunity cost for maize in storage and maize import costs. The methodology presented can be used by policy markers to analyze the least cost strategic option suitable for maintaining stable maize supplies for the nation, therefore achieving an essential element of the food security objective.