A Member of Parliament last week said the KFC franchise which reopened in Harare two months ago is importing sliced, peeled potatoes.
Irene Zindi of Mutasa South wanted to know what government policy on this was in view of the fact that one of the key aspects of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Scio-Economic Transformation is to promote local agricultural production.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said this was actually a regional concern becomes some prepared potatoes were even coming from Europe.
“I want to assure her that we will be putting measures together with the Minister of Industry and Commerce to make sure that we support firstly, the development of farmers in terms of supporting potato growing and secondly to make sure we use local materials,” Made said.
Asked whether the government was only coming up with the policy now, Made said “not at all, in actual fact agriculture has among the policies one of the most elaborate policies in terms of stimulating agriculture. Potatoes in particular, is a crop that has been well supported in that programme”.
Reports said KFC intends to open 25 outlets in Zimbabwe.
Q & A:
MS. ZINDI: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. In light of stimulating the farm production, particularly on potatoes, the KFC Franchise is actually importing sliced and peeled potatoes. In light of farm production and particularly the potatoes as I have alluded to earlier, is it any kind of investment in your thinking that will stimulate the local farming production vis-à-vis our economy when they are being allowed to import hundreds of thousands of peeled, sliced chips ready to fry?
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): I want to thank the hon. member for raising a very important question. We would like to make sure that that we support our local farmers, specifically, potatoes. This is one of the major issues in actual fact even in the sub region that we now have potatoes coming even from Europe prepared in the manner that the hon. member has described.
I want to assure her that we will be putting measures together with the Minister of Industry and Commerce to make sure that we support firstly, the development of farmers in terms of supporting potato growing and secondly to make sure we use local materials. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has made reference to our import bill, if you see the amount of money we are spending on imported goods which include …..
MR. S. MADZORE: On a point of Order Madam Speaker. Thank you Madam Speaker, the Honourable Minister is requested to speak louder ……
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, there is no point of order.
DR. MADE: Madam Speaker, I think I had already made the point in support of our farmers. Thank you.
MS. ZINDI: Thank Madam Speaker, I appreciate the Minister’s response but what I would like to find out from the Minister is that, does it mean in view of the ZIM ASSET and wanting the ZIM ASSET to succeed, does it mean, they did not have a policy in place that will ensure ….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Madzore and other hon. members, I am giving you this last warning, may you please behave well when other Members of Parliament are asking questions, it is for the benefit of Zimbabweans not only for Members of Parliament.
MS. ZINDI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I was simply saying in view of the success of ZIM ASSET – while I appreciate the Minister’s response to ensure that they will have to put measures in place to stimulate the economy, does it mean they did not have a policy in place that is meant to stimulate local production particularly in agriculture because it is only now as I have raised the question that they are thinking of wanting to put measures in place in order to stimulate local economy and local production in agriculture.
DR. MADE: Thank you Madam Speaker, not at all, in actual fact agriculture has among the policies one of the most elaborate policies in terms of stimulating agriculture. Potatoes in particular, is a crop that has been well supported in that programme. Thank you.