No more import permits for horticultural products
Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Government will no longer issue import permits for horticultural products as a measure to promote the growth of the sector and save foreign currency, a Cabinet minister has said. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said President Mugabe had directed him to ensure that rice production was also promoted across the country. He said Government was also working on the producer price for a tonne of the cereal.
“His Excellency has directed me and the Minister of Industry and Commerce to quickly stop the importation of horticultural products as they waste much needed foreign currency. This means that the importation of fruit and vegetables will be stopped immediately. We are finalising on the exact list of foreign-produced fruits that are occupying shelves in shops,” he said.
Minister Made said beneficiaries of Zimbabwe’s land reform programmes should take advantage of Government policies.
“This must be a positive development for our farmers, we now want them to improve on their production capacity and also to produce quality produce. The foreign currency being wasted on the importation of carrots and grapes will now be utilised towards the purchase of more fertilisers and pesticides,” he said.
On the producer price for rice, Minister Made said the move would reduce the crop’s importation.
“We have the water, land and climatic conditions, which suit the production of certain varieties of rice. We want to cut the importation of rice. Rice has become a very important source of starch, but is consuming a lot of foreign currency. Dams such as Tokwe-Mukosi must also irrigate rice plantations and this must spread across the country,” he said.
Dr Made challenged the Grain Marketing Board and the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe to open more satellites depots across the country so that farmers do not travel more than five kilometres to collect inputs.
“This year, President Mugabe wants every farmer to grow either cotton, soya beans or maize and other small grains that Government would promote through inputs from the Presidential Well Wishers Inputs Support Scheme,” he said.
Dr Made said GMB and Cottco should speed-up the opening of satellite depots, so that farmers could receive their inputs easily.
“They must continue opening satellite depots across the country so that farmers will receive inputs nearer to their homes. We want all remote parts of the country to be covered because the President wants everyone to benefit from this scheme,” he said.
Minister Made challenged GMB to speed up the payment of farmers, especially those who would have delivered small grains so that they could acquire additional inputs.
“The President also said farmers must buy additional inputs so that the area, which is planted across the country, increases. We, therefore, call upon GMB to speed-up paying farmers, especially those who delivered small grains so that they can prepare for the season timely,” he said.