The government has secured funding to buy unmanned aircraft (drones) to help curb smuggling at the country’s borders, a Cabinet minister has said.
Source: Zimbabwe: Govt Drones to Hunt Smugglers – allAfrica 8 May 2016 By Victoria Mtomba
Speaking during a tour of Magure Farm in Wedza last week, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the country’s borders were fraught with corruption happening at all ports of entry.
“We decided to come together as an inter-ministerial committee that includes Home Affairs, Industry, Environment and the Mines ministry and we have involved experts,” he said.
“We came up with a broad framework and we have managed to secure funding.
“We now have the funding to procure equipment and drones that will hover around the border.”
Bimha would not disclose the cost of the exercise or the source of the funding.
He said goods were finding their way into the country through forged documents.
“It’s [smuggling] a big issue and we need to do something about it. Secondly, there is corruption. There are reports, astonishing reports, where law enforcement agents are seen smuggling goods into the country,” he said.
He said the country attracted goods from all over the world due to the availability of a strong United States dollar.
Conversely, local products were expensive due to high production costs as most of the costs were pegged in the United States dollar.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce recently said the country was losing an estimated $1,5 billion through smuggling.
Magure Farm receives support from Nestlé Zimbabwe.
The farmer, Lovemore Mugabe started with 13 cows 13 years ago but to date he has 750 dairy cows. Nestlé Zimbabwe buys Mugabe’s milk, which is collected from the farm every two days.
Mugabe now has a biogas digester, which is one of the largest plants in the country which generates electricity for lighting, cooking and warming water to clean the surfaces.
Nestlé Zimbabwe managing director Ben Ndiaye said the company had been investing in dairy production in the country and sought to make it sustainable through the value chain.
Ndiaye said the company sought to help farmers to produce good quality milk, which is the major raw material for Nestlé Zimbabwe.
He said through this support, the company wanted to reduce the cost of doing business for farmers as well.
Since 2011 when the dairy revival scheme began, Nestlé Zimbabwe has set aside $14 million to be invested in seven years in the dairy sector and so far 1 000 cows have been given to farmers countrywide.