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


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The other aspect is that commercial production for maize, soya beans and other cereals is under Government guaranteed schemes through CBZ and AFC and these are predominantly in ZW$.  The payment in ZW$ and USD recognises the production that is both USD and ZW$.  Relating to this, the importation of maize and other cereals is entirely in USD and therefore the Government can do so.  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.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Minister is that it costs USD3000 per hectare to grow maize, USD90 you give us in USD; the average a good farmer would grow is about five tonnes per hectare.  So you are looking at a farmer getting away with USD500 and I have not even spoken about the national average which is probably less than a tonne or over a tonne.  To me, the question is about the farmer going back to the field.  How does this Government expect the farmer to go back to the field and they are not remunerating the farmer in terms of their sweat and what they want to do?  Not only that, inputs are not subsidized; we need a system where inputs are subsidised and farmers produce because more money is being spend.

The Hon. Minister is correct in saying that there are private companies which want to import but can the Hon. Minister introduce a Statutory Instrument to stop them from importing and to buy from the locals?  I think that is the only way the local farmers can benefit at the end of the day.  Hon. Minister, it is important for you, being an agriculture person, not only that – I am happy that His Excellency the President is a good farmer; that you cannot take away from him and he needs to go back again.  May he also be rewarded in terms of his sweat because how does he get back to the field when you are paying us in this manner?

HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  As highlighted earlier, we think the current pricing model sufficiently rewards farmers for their effort.  In connection with what could be called the replacement cost, it is always difficult to pay a replacement cost in an inflationary environment and it is in this regard that the bulk of the cereals that are produced in Zimbabwe are under a subsidised model.  This is the Presidential Input Scheme that the 2.7 million rural households produce maize under and the bulk of the maize is produced in A1 owned resettlement and communal areas; these are subsidiaries.

The Government guaranteed schemes; this is a Government scheme where we take a cost plus approach.  We take into account all the costs that the farmer has incurred and additionally pay the 15% return on the effort of the farmer.  This model, in a high cost environment is what we believe is the way forward. This sufficiently rewards farmers with their effort.  May I assure the Member that Government has now approved the summer plan and we are seriously looking at supporting farmers to go back to the fields, so he can be assured that there will be a scheme that will guarantee that Zimbabwean farmers will be sufficiently motivated to go back to the fields in November.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

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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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