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Zimbabwe imports maize despite 'bumper harvest'

by Staff reporter
06 Jul 2017 at 06:12hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE imported maize worth $82 million in the first five months of the year at a time the country was boasting of a bumper harvest, latest trade data from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) has shown.

This came as government had indicated it had stopped issuing grain import permits in February and that no maize imports were allowed at the borders following a bumper harvest realised this year.

However, data released by ZimStat on Tuesday showed that the country imported maize worth $82 million but was down from the comparative period in 2016 which was $97 million.

During the same period under review, the country also imported durum wheat and rice worth $46 million and $41 million, respectively.

In May, maize imports was up 6% to $16 million compared to the previous month.

Currently, the country is projected to harvest more than 2 million metric tonnes of grain, including small grains such as sorghum and millet, following good rains received this year.

On average, Zimbabwe needs about 1,8 million metric tonnes for consumption, including small grains such as millet and sorghum annually.

To ensure food security and to reduce dependency on imports, government this season unveiled a $500 million command agricultural programme under which it aims to produce 2 million tonnes of maize from 400 000 hectares of land.

But critics have dismissed the scheme as a failure due to corruption pervading it.

Overall imports in the first five months of the year stood at $2,1 billion while exports amounted to $1,1 billion, giving a trade deficit of $1,01 billion.

Some of the products imported include diesel worth $318 million, unleaded petrol $161 million and electrical energy $76 million.

Products imported included in the period under review fish, milk, cheese, sausage casings, sugar related confectioneries, biscuits, electrical energy, chemicals, vehicles and generators.

Major exports during the period under review included semi-manufactured gold worth $320 million, flue cured tobacco worth $229 million, ferrochrome worth $148 million, nickel ore and concentrates $143 million and diamonds $34 million.

Exports included beef, agricultural produce as well as wines, minerals and scrap metal.

Source - newsday

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