Forex shortages threaten Command Agriculture

HARARE - The country’s food security is under threat this year amid revelations that government is facing a critical shortage of foreign currency which is required for Zimbabwe’s main agro-import substitution programme — Command Agriculture.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has placed the programme as one of its key policies towards reducing an unsustainable import bill, reviving industry and jobs creation.

However, government sources told the Daily News this week government’s foreign currency reserves were rapidly dwindling — a development that is feared could throw the Command Agriculture programme which requires close to $1,3 billion for the country to step up its efforts to raise local production and export earnings into disarray.

“This year’s programme, given that it has spread to also include livestock, cotton and other cash crops means more resources are required yet government coffers are almost empty at the moment because our exports are so limited that they are not bringing in enough foreign currency,” a ministry of Finance official said on condition of anonymity.

Justin Mupamhanga‚ the deputy chief secretary in the office of the president and Cabinet‚ told delegates at Wednesday’s agri-business forum that all command projects solely depend on the availability of foreign currency because farming inputs and implements were imported.

This, he said had “an impact on the procurement of irrigation equipment‚ agriculture machinery such as combine harvesters‚ dryers‚ and threshers as well as on the procurement of heifers”.

This comes as more than a million people are in need of food aid in Zimbabwe with the number set to rise due to an increased likelihood of an El Nino phenomenon during the 2018-2019 rainy season in southern Africa.

Famine Early Warning Systems (Fews)‚ a think tank on food insecurity operating in 34 countries‚ said in a report published last week that the situation would be aggravated by low or poor agrarian activity and a bad economy‚ largely due to man-made and natural causes.

Speaking during the forum, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said food security was a core priority of his government pledging that he will avail farm inputs and food aid to at least 2,2 million households.

Comments (1)

Fake famine warning to stop rsa land reforms.

Kuzekuse - 1 September 2018

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