Why is Zimbabwe importing grain despite billions spent on the CAP?

By Farai Shawn Matiashe
Posted on Wednesday, 8 June 2022 13:18

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A farmer Boniface Mutize inspects his maize crop during an interview with Reuters at his farm in Domboshava, a village in the province of Mashonaland East outside Harare, Zimbabwe, March 21,2022. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

In late May, Zimbabwe, which was once the breadbasket of Africa, announced it will import 400,000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize worth $100m from the neighbouring Zambia and Malawi amid grain shortages due to poor harvests and hoarding by farmers who are demanding to be paid in US dollars - this despite President Mnangagwa's Command Agriculture Programme. When did the basket go empty?

The imported maize is scheduled to be delivered by 30 June, according to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), a voluntary business organisation that represents the interests of local, large, medium and small scale grain millers in Zimbabwe.

Under then long-time ruler President Robert Mugabe, the government introduced the Command Agriculture Programme (CAP) in the 2016/2017 agricultural season, a scheme aimed at empowering local producers of cereal crops, particularly maize, so as to achieve national food security.