Sanctions cripple agric industry: Shiri

Source: Sanctions cripple agric industry: Shiri | The Herald25 OCT, 2019

Sanctions cripple agric industry: Shiri
Minister Shiri

Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West have crippled the agriculture industry with the sector now experiencing challenges in securing export markets for agricultural produce, particularly horticulture, resulting in a sharp decline in foreign currency earnings.

This has also negatively impacted on Government’s efforts to import agricultural machinery and irrigation equipment to boost production and ensure the nation is food secure.

Agriculture was the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy; providing employment and income to over 60 percent of the population, supplying 60 percent of raw materials required by the manufacturing sector and contributing 40 percent of the total export earnings.

However, several key institutions with direct influence to the agricultural sector were placed under sanctions, while other financial services providers were slapped with hefty fines.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade report on sanctions states that the unilateral sanctions brought a myriad of challenges to the agriculture sector and made it extremely difficult to access agriculture lines of credit and attract investment.

This resulted in lack of development, rehabilitation, modernisation and deterioration of production and marketing infrastructure, ultimately reducing productivity and access to markets.

“Horticulture was the fastest growing sector and generated significant amounts of foreign exchange, and at one point becoming the second largest foreign exchange earner after tobacco. The horticulture export industry grew from US$32 million in 1990/91 to a value of about US$143 million in the 1998/99 season.

“However, due to sanctions the country lost most of its niche and lucrative markets for horticulture products. Previously, farmers used to export horticulture produce to the Netherlands and the UK. However, these markets were closed due to sanctions, resulting in a significant decline in the horticulture industry,” read the statement.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri confirmed that sanctions have negatively impacted on horticultural export markets.

“We cannot export our horticultural products such as flowers to various destinations, mostly Europe. Some of them are grown on resettled areas where Europeans and Americans consider it contested farms and do not allow us to export anything from these farms.

“If we export we get foreign currency then we can import our agricultural inputs including fertilisers and agricultural machinery especially irrigation equipment.

“We are failing to do that because we have limited markets.  If you cannot sell what you produce and it goes to waste and you cannot generate income for your operations hence you cannot buy what you want,” he said.

According to the Ministry Foreign Affairs and International Trade, by 2005, horticulture exports had gone down to about US$72 million, with the value further tumbling to US$40 million by 2009. The horticultural industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell from about 4,5 percent before sanctions to the current 0,8 percent.

The absence of latest machinery has led to decline in agricultural production, negatively affecting the livelihoods of households and derailing Zimbabwe’s quest to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) against poverty and hunger.

“These unjustified and illegal sanctions have violated basic human rights by directly perpetuating hunger and poverty in Zimbabwe and working against the SDGs,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.


  • comment-avatar
    njalo 3 years ago

    Surely Zimbabwe can sell to and buy from China, India, Belarus, Iran, United Arab Emirates, the whole of Africa, much of South America……..why worry about the United States and Europe?

    Sanctions ?!?!

    It’s a hard sell.

  • comment-avatar
    Flick 3 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Dave Scott 3 years ago

    Us white farmers were faced with full economic sanctions imposed on us by the international community between 1965 and 1979, because we declared UDI from Britain. This included an oil and arms embargo and plus the Brits based a war ship in the English Channel between 1965 and 1975 to prevent us from exporting our chrome and tobacco, and from oil coming in via Beira. Despite all this Rhodesian Farmers went on to hold the world record in terms of yield, for Maize, Soya Beans, Groundnuts and Wheat…way ahead of our American farming counterparts. We were the third largest producer of Cotton in the world and were the second largest Virginia Tobacco producer after Brazil. We established the largest privately owned Citrus Estates in the world…Mazowe Citrus Estates. Rhodesia went on to become the second most powerful economy in Africa after South Africa. Then we handed it all over on a silver platter to a bunch of thieving destructive savages who looted plundered and pillaged everything they touched. This has absolutely nothing to do with economic sanctions, that’s a blatant lie and we all know it. This is more to do with the fact that blacks cannot run an economy and neither can they farm!!! It has been proved time and time again throughout Africa and this is the main reason why the continent has never ever moved into First gear from neutral after they’d gained their Independence. The only time a bit of light shines through the tunnel is when the white man gets involved…the farming sector in Zambia is a classic example of this happening. I want these thieves in power to tell us “what sanctions”? Us white farmers in Zim involved in horticulture can access ANY market and can access ANY type of equipment and can access ANY form of foreign finance from foreign financial institutions…why, because us white folk can be trusted!!!The truth always hurts, but a thief will always remain a thief as will a liar always remain a liar!! We will only be able to rectify the problem if all these thieves are kicked out of power and the white farmers were returned to their farms, but that will never happen, only because you cannot trust these savages to stick to their word!!!!!!