Maize imports bill bleeds Zimbabwe economy

via Maize imports bill bleeds Zimbabwe economy  28 August 2014 by Tarisai Mandizha

DIRECT imports of maize and wheat since 1999 have cost the country $3,3 billion due to shortfalls in domestic production, Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe president Sam Malaba said yesterday.

Speaking at the second edition of the agro-business conference held on the sidelines of the 2014 Harare Agricultural Show, Malaba said the increase in imports had contributed to the widening of the current account deficit to $4 billion last year from $3,6 billion in 2012.

“Illustrative of the current challenges, Zimbabwe has been importing food due to shortfalls. Direct food imports in terms of maize and wheat average $550 million per year implying a cumulative total amount of $3,3 billion since 2009, as per Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe balance of payments statistics,” Malaba said.

Malaba said the decline in agriculture production had, in tandem, “occasioned corresponding decline in related manufacturing sub-sectors leading to low industrial capacity utilisation”.

He said over 70% of the population derives their livelihood from agriculture and, therefore, measures to address poverty alleviation must in some way target the agricultural sector.

He, however, said since dollarisation in 2009, the banking system had been characterised by short-term deposits, with 80% of the deposits being demand deposits which are not readily available for medium or long-term financing.

Malaba added: “Agriculture only received 15,68% of total loans and advances from the banking sector; about $600 million as at the end of June 2014. The challenge of agricultural financing in Zimbabwe must be viewed in the context of the broader economic situation prevailing in the country characterised by serious liquidity constraints, declining economic activity, low domestic demand and a widening current account deficit.”


  • comment-avatar

    I don’t get this. The president was this week on record claiming that we had a bumper harvest this season. Why then are we importing grain?

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    Parangeta 8 years ago

    “Zimbabwe is now self-sufficient, due to a bumper crop”,
    ~Mugarbage August 2014~

    “121,000 tonnes of Genetically Modified
    maize imported from Zambia”.
    “150,000 tonnes planned for import from
    South Africa”.

    9 “Lets Mortgage Zimbabwe” deals struck with our
    Great Zing-Zong Colonists.

    What’s next, dis-Grace trying to dethrone the old fool!

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    Tongoona 8 years ago

    Crop estimate is an art perfected over years of experience and dedication to agriculture. One cannot estimate a crop from offices or farfetched experience. Each crop season is different from the other.

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    Either these people live in differnt countries or someone is lying big time. Mugabe is at pains to make us believe we are self sufficient then this Guy says NO its not the case.I am inclined to believe this Guy coz Mugabe has been an unashamed liar for too long. Everything that has been coming out his mouth sends the lie detectors into over drive.

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    kkkkk we ar jast praying zimbabweans

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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Surprise surprise. You destroy the productive sector and now there is no production. Who knew? Everybody with a brain I guess. This is perhaps why the ZANU’s do not get it.