Zimbabwe approves duty-free food imports and GMO maize for stockfeed amid looming shortages


HARARE – The Zimbabwean government has authorized companies and individuals to import maize, rice, and cooking oil duty-free starting from July 2024. This move is aimed at preventing potential food shortages due to the El Nino-induced drought, according to Jenfan Muswere, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

Zimbabwe approves duty-free food imports amid shortages El Niño drought
Information minister Jenfan Muswere [Image: @InfoMinZW/X]

During a post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday, 12 March, Muswere stated that the Cabinet had discussed the need to increase rice cultivation due to rising consumption among citizens. 

The Cabinet also stressed the importance of supporting and promoting local wheat production to substitute wheat for maize to meet the nation's maize demand.

Muswere explained: "The food security strategy is based on the comparative and competitive advantages of wheat this winter. 

"The consumption of 7.5kg per person per month will be used immediately for social welfare and be adjusted after October to 8.5kg per person per month. 

"The purchase of local grain at an import parity price of US$390 per tonne will be used to mop up excess local grain."

He further added that the government has approved a duty waiver on the importation of rice and potato seed, and the importation of genetically modified maize for stock feed, under strictly supervised milling and distribution.

Anxious Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, added that rice and potatoes will be considered key staples to ensure national food security.

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