El Nino prediction; Private sector allowed to import maize and soya
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
Government has taken measures to ensure food security by allowing private sector to import maize and soybean duty free.
This was announced by Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere during a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare last night.
The move to allow the duty free-importation of maize and soya comes amid the warning from the World Metrological Organisation (WMO) of El Nino weather pattern which is likely to be experienced by Zimbabwe could pose a significant setback for agricultural production.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Dr Muswere said, “Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the Grain Marketing Board Stocks as at 24/09/23 for maize stood at 215 000 metric tonnes, traditional grains at 48 026 metric tonnes and 137 414 metric tonnes of wheat. Wheat stocks will last for a period of six months at a monthly drawdown rate of 21 000 metric tonnes.”
He went on to say, “With a projected El Nino season ahead, the private sector has been allowed to import additional maize and soya bean. In addition, the importation of mealie meal by households will continue duty free.”
Turning to grain deliveries to date, Dr Muswere said that the grain delivered to date was valued at about ZW$66.6 billion and USD21 468 678, and Government is expediting payment to farmers. Pertaining to Winter Wheat, a record 90 192 hectares have been planted with an estimated volume of 420 000 metric tonnes expected to be harvested. Of the winter grown, 70% has been by A2 (57%) and A1 (13%) farmers, attesting to the success of the land reform programme. Meanwhile, wheat harvesting has commenced with some 900 hectares having been harvested to date.
Dr Muswere also said that Tobacco Marketing had seen a record 296.1 million kilogrammes marketed, a marked increase of 42.6% compared to last year. To date, 127 million kilogrammes of tobacco have been exported at an average price of USD5.08/kg compared to 111 million exported during the same period last year at USD4.59/kg.
Dr Muswere also said, “The nation is advised that as at 21 September 2023, a total of 90 084 273 kilogrammes of cotton had been marketed compared to 54 261 997 kilogrammes marketed at the same period last year. COTTCO has commenced the transformation of the business, which is being expanded to include value addition and beneficiation, with an oil expression plant being constructed in Gokwe, while seed production will also commence at the Kadoma plant.”
He further revealed that under the Presidential Rural Development Programme, some 35 000 village Business Units, 9 600 School Business Units, 4 800 Youth Business Units, and 460 Irrigation Schemes Business Units will be established throughout the country. When fully operational, the programme will boost yields and improve the rural livelihoods of communities.