Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE’s drive towards food self-sufficiency is on course in the wake of revelations that the country’s import bill has gone down by over 14 percent, driven by reduced imports of grains and cereal products.
Over US$85 million was saved in June this year as data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency shows that imports dropped to US$720 million from over US$850 million in May.
Most of the imports are made up of machinery and equipment as companies target productivity growth.
The continued decline in food-related imports is raising further hopes of saving more foreign currency.
Buy Zimbabwe General Manager Mr Alois Burutsa and Zimbabwe Farmers Union Secretary General Mr Paul Zakariya are impressed by the latest development.
“The general trend is that food imports decline reflects the ability of local industry to produce as well as how the country is moving towards self-sufficiency in order to save foreign currency so it is a positive development that needs to be sustained,” said Mr Burutsa.
“The industry has what it all takes in terms of more output taking a cue from the merits arising within the agricultural value chains then it means the nation has a lot to benefit in as far as record wheat harvest and increased grain output are concerned on the import bill,” said Mr Zakariya.
The government is focusing on increasing industrial sectors’ capacity to produce and value add products.