‘Ban food imports’

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HARARE – Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, minister of State for Provincial Affairs, has called on government to ban imports of cheap foodstuffs to eliminate unfair competition for local producers.

Mudarikwa was speaking on the sidelines of a United Methodist Committee on Relief (Umcor) and World Food Programme (WFP) food donation ceremony at Magadu Primary School in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) earlier this week.

The Mashonaland East provincial minister said the cheap imports affected the pricing of most food stuffs in Zimbabwe.

“There is no demand for beef in the country because of cheap imports of chicken from countries like South Africa. It is affecting the price of cattle here,” Mudarikwa said.

“When we import food, we are also importing jobs which would have otherwise been created by our people who are involved in livestock production.”

Mudarikwa said the cheap imports also hampered government indigenisation efforts which sought to put the means of production in the hands of locals.

“Our youths here have benefited from the governments indigenisation programme but most of them are involved in livestock production because we are in Region Four where the rainfall pattern is bad but there are no markets for their commodities because of these cheap imports,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) says  the importation of cheap goods not only made the playing ground uneven for local industries but turned the country into a dumping ground of substandard goods.

The imported goods are usually sold at a much lower price.

For instance, a pocket of imported potatoes will cost anything from between $4 to $6 while locally grown potatoes are being sold between $10 and $12.

These goods usually do not compete with locally-grown produce as most of it is genetically modified.

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