Import, export permit cancellation received with mixed reactions April 2, 2014 in NewsDay by Tarisai Mandizha
FARMERS and analysts have expressed mixed feelings over government’s cancellation of all existing import and exports permits amid indications that farmers have no capacity to adequately supply agricultural produce to the local market.
This development follows a directive by government on Monday that there was need to revise the rules and regulations governing the importation and exportation of agricultural produce.
A local analyst said the cancellation would affect the economy, which is heavily reliant on imports as the country is failing to produce enough due to absence of capital.
He said agricultural imports had been rising due to low production on the farms.
“There are sectors such as the milk sector, it relies on imports to produce milk products and the cancellation would impact on these sectors negatively,” said the analyst.
“The cancellation will lead to shortages of some of the products in the market as the country has no money to produce the required products.”
The agricultural sector has failed to attract funding from the financial services sector due to the absence of collateral which financial institutions require before they can offer loans. Government has failed to come up with bankable leases.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce deputy president Davison Norupiri said the cancellation of import and export permits was a good move as it would help control the inflow of products into the country.
“This is an issue of trying to control the products which come into the country,” said Norupiri.
“We have farmers here and if we look at areas like Mutoko and Domboshava, these people are now failing to get markets due to competition from cheap imports coming into the country.”
He said the country had capacity to produce enough vegetables to feed the whole nation.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union second vice-president Berean Mukwende also applauded the move saying it was long overdue.
“Zimbabwe has become a very lucrative market as a result of the United States dollar and most of the countries around the world have been dumping their products in Zimbabwe,” Mukwende said.
“The ban on imports means this is going to stimulate production and make our products competitive, as currently what is happening is that we are competing with subsidised farmers.”
He said many farmers in Zimbabwe were being disadvantaged as traders were bringing in cheap imports that flooded the markets.
In a statement yesterday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made said all running import and export permits issued by the ministry had been cancelled and recalled for replacement with immediate effect.