Zim 'imports grain despite govt claims it has stopped doing so' – report
Zimbabwe is reportedly still importing grain "despite claims by the government that it had stopped doing so" last year following a "bumper harvest from the command agriculture programme".
The main aim for the command agriculture programme was to ensure self-food sustenance after which exports would follow to help the country earn the much needed foreign currency.
The government said in June last year that it had banned grain imports from regional countries, including South Africa.
The southern African country said at the time that it was looking to export grain following a bumper harvest that saw most farmers surpassing the targeted yield per hectare under the command agriculture programme.
According to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, several farmers had surpassed the government benchmark target of five tons per hectare.
* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER
A report by NewsDay on Thursday, however, said that the latest trade data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) showed that the country imported maize worth $976 765 in three months, from February to April this year.
"Beside maize imports, the foreign currency starved nation imported rice worth $34,4 million, durum wheat ($27,4m), soya beans ($3,2m), ground nuts ($2,1m), fresh grapes ($1,2m), grain sorghum ($710 676), apples ($627 625), peaches ($38 680) and peas ($1 025), among others," the report said.
This came as President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week urged African countries to focus more on agriculture, saying the continent imported food amounting to at least $50 billion per year.
Mnangagwa said this while speaking at the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Union (Sacau) annual meeting in Victoria Falls.
He said that the continent needed to "harness its arable land to stimulate economic growth and improve its food security".