Zimbabwe’s ban on maize imports ‘counterproductive’

via Govt ban on maize imports ‘counterproductive’ | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The government decision to ban all imports of maize has been described as a counterproductive move, with the potential to drive up maize prices and potentially lead to serious shortages.

The decision, made last week, is meant to help ‘protect’ local farmers and comes after Agriculture Minister Joseph Made recently predicted a ‘bumper’ harvest.

But Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Charles Taffs said Tuesday that the country is yet to return to the production levels achieved in the sector before the land grab campaign was launched over a decade ago. He said that the country should be aiming to produce about 2.2 million tonnes of maize a year, but Zimbabwe is currently only producing between 900 thousand and one million tonnes.

“We are producing way below consumption, so the ban is counterproductive because we will face a shortage going forward,” Taffs said.

ZANU PF’s land grab campaign saw the most profitable commercial farms in Zimbabwe being seized, often violently, and handed over to party elites and other beneficiaries. The majority of those properties have since fallen into disuse, and the agricultural growth being lauded as the ‘success’ of the land grab campaign has been witnessed in tobacco, not food.

The situation has left hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans facing food shortages. The majority of food in the country is imported, while over two million people are in need of food aid according to the World Food Programme.

Taffs said that until food production returns to levels where the nation can feed itself, banning maize imports “makes little sense.”

He meanwhile said that the government decision creates an “absurd situation” that will ultimately not help maize producers or normal Zimbabweans. He said part of the problem is a lack of faith in the national Grain Marketing Board (GMB), because of the parastatal’s failure to pay what it owes producers. He explained that private millers will offer a lower price for the maize, but this will still be preferable than risking not being paid by the GMB.

“Private millers base their prices on import parity or they run the risk of having stock they can’t get rid of if the price is too high. If the ban is in place on the assumption that the millers will pay the GMB producer price, well that’s not going to happen,” Taffs said.


  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 9 years ago

    This is all about using food as a weapon

  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    You are right, the ZANU crooks will be importing secretly. Its just a ban on the public.

  • comment-avatar

    Is this the same Made who blamed baboons on crop failures before?

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    Mlimo 9 years ago

    Zimbabwe can live on freedom and the right to vote. Remember one man one vote ? Also the choice of farm is free too just invade it and take the maize. Mind the baboons guarding it one might be mistaken for one. But like the GMB which is broke so can’t pay for any maize that too is fine Gono has lots of chickens just steal a few after all its ok to steal in Zimbabwe just look at you ministers they set the example.

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    just saying 9 years ago

    As I have often said in my contributions to this site in the past that this government & particularly Mugabe do not care about the ordinary people. The simple reason being that they better than anyone else know that the majority of Zimbabweans have not voted for them for many years. Why else after all the promises they made in 1980 have they consistently made decisions that are detrimental to the people. How any ordinary person & there are some, can still support ZPF, is beyond belief!

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    Patriotic 9 years ago

    Reallity on the ground is very few farmers are producing. Why I dont know but I have first hand knowledge of 2 relatives who have A2 farms (which means commercial farms) but are only cultivating only less than a third of the land. The rest lie idle. If you ask them they dont have resources and its true they dont have? They use cattle to plough the land, so tell me how much can you till using this method? It is pathetic i tell you. Nothing will ever come out of these farms until a proper land audit is done or these people are given resources to farm and these resources have to be managed properly or come with conditions

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      Doris 9 years ago

      So wot has happened to all the equipment that was grabbed along with the farm?

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      John Thomas 9 years ago

      Why should anybody give them anything? This entitlement thinking is exactly the problem

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      DawnofNewAge 9 years ago

      Patriotic, ‘commercial farmers’ were not ‘given’ tractors, implements or inputs!!! There were Title deeds used to guarantee loans…..oh, but sorry that was when there was a system and everything was legal!!! Now it’s free for all. How many new farmers get crop loans from tobacco companies, and then ‘side market’ so they don’t have to repay their loans?