Zim­babwe bans fresh fruit, veg­etable im­ports

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS NEWS -

Zim­babwe has banned im­ports of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, the agri­cul­ture min­istry said yes­ter­day, ar­gu­ing that in­creased lo­cal pro­duc­tion will meet do­mes­tic de­mand.

The ban will mostly im­pact sup­plies of toma­toes, pota­toes, mangoes, grapes and ap­ples from neigh­bour­ing South Africa, the min­istry said in a state­ment, with­out giv­ing fig­ures on how much the fruit and veg­etable im­port mar­ket is worth.

Zim­babwe’s farm­ing out­put, in­clud­ing from its sta­ple maize crop, has slumped by over 60 per­cent since 2000, fol­low­ing seizures of white-owned farms by Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s con­tro­ver­sial govern­ment.

Mu­gabe said seiz­ing the farms for re­dis­tri­bu­tion to lo­cal blacks was to cor­rect colo­nial in­jus­tices.

Crit­ics say Mu­gabe -- in power since in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain in 1980 -turned one of Africa’s most promis­ing economies and a re­gional bread bas­ket to a net im­porter of food.

But Mu­gabe’s ZANU-PF says the econ­omy, which shrank by over 40 per­cent in the decade to 2009, had been sab­o­taged by Western pow­ers op­posed to his na­tion­al­ist poli­cies.

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