Horticultural imports cripple local farmers

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
GOVERNMENT has been urged to be consistent in its policies on the importation of horticultural crops, as local supermarkets continue to sell imported produce at the expense of local farmers. The call was made by Mutasa South House of Assembly member Cde Irene Zindi. Cde Zindi complained that local supermarkets were still stocked with imported produce when local farmers were failing to access markets.

She said there should be a clear policy on agriculture to boost productivity. “Many people are accusing resettled farmers for failing to produce, yet there are several challenges affecting the sector. Some of the local supermarkets refuse to take produce from local farmers citing (poor) quality.

“These supermarkets are run by some business people in South Africa who contract farmers there to produce for them. “The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development should take the issue of imports more seriously. Why is it that the ministry is not taking the issue of imports seriously? The ministry should stop issuing out import license since this is negatively affecting farmers,” she said.

Cde Zindi also emphasised on the need to make the 99-year lease effective in accessing loans from financial institutions.

She said the announcement that leases were now bankable was a relief to farmers who were failing to access funding.

“Hopefully, we will not have difficulties in accessing funding as the document is now bankable. The process should not be cumbersome for farmers.

“Timing is important in farming and hopefully farmers will not have problems when using the leases to access funding,” she said.

Kuwadzana Member of Parliament (MDC-T) Mr Nelson Chamisa moved a motion for the house to discuss the disappearance of Itai Dzamara.

Buhera West Member of Parliament (Zanu-PF) Cde Oliver Mandipaka supported the motion, but later asked the House to discuss the issue at a later date since there were few legislators.

After a head count, the matter could not be discussed as the legislators were less than 70, and the House was adjourned.

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