Zimbabwe government is not importing any maize and is discouraging private sector from doing so


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The Zimbabwe government is not importing any maize because it has enough to feed the nation, Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka told Parliament yesterday.

He said the private sector was importing some maize from Malawi but the government was discouraging them from doing so as it was more cost effective to encourage local farmers to grow the maize.

Responding to questions from independent legislator Temba Mliswa, Masuka said: “The Government is not importing maize at this stage.  We have sufficient maize in the strategic grain reserve to meet our social welfare requirements; 45 000 metric tonnes for our social welfare requirements.

“It is the private sector that is importing maize and the same issue that the Hon. Member has raised, we have raised it with the private sector to say it is unwise to import maize.  For example, importing maize from Malawi at USD220 per metric tonne and paying USD22million.  That USD22 million could produce double the maize that we are importing and we have therefore urged them to reduce imports while supporting local production.”

Millers have said they intend to import 400 000 tonnes of maize and are getting 100 000 tonnes from Malawi.

Zimbabwe says it expects 1.8 million tonnes of maize this year and has a strategic reserve of 500 000 tonnes making a total of 2.3 million tonnes against the national requirement of 2.2 million tonnes.

Q&A:

HON. T. MLISWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  Minister, the farmers want to know the mode of payment for their maize this year.  You had indicated that 30% would be in foreign currency but 30% of what as you know that there is the auction system?  Secondly, why can you not pay them in foreign currency because already you are importing in foreign currency?  You are making other farmers richer outside Zimbabwe and yet our own farmers are poor.  When you pay them in foreign currency they are able to produce more, they are able to buy their own inputs because inputs are being sold in foreign currency.  May the Minister please apprise this House of the mode of payment which will be made to the farmers in the 2021/2022 agriculture season?  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. DR. MASUKA: Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  First point of clarification; the 30% payment in foreign currency has been superseded by developments wherein the President agreed to a simplified payment system for farmers.  For maize, it will be ZW$75 000 per metric tonne and USD90 per tonne and delivery incentive.  This will also apply across all the other grain that the GMB will receive.

The second aspect relates to the mode of payment, the payment is not entirely in ZW$ and US$ because most of the schemes have been sponsored – the 2.7million rural households are all sponsored under the Presidential Input Programme, which is a free input programme.  This is a contractual obligation between the Government and the households for them to be able to produce sufficient food to feed themselves and wean them from being social welfare cases. They then supply the surplus to GMB for which they are paid this ZW$ component and the USD component.  From a Government perspective, we think this is very good.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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