Zimbabwe has banned maize imports with immediate effect, the country’s agricultural marketing authority said on Thursday, citing an expected big harvest of the staple crop in 2021. The southern African nation spent $300 million in scarce foreign currency importing maize in 2020 after successive droughts that left more than half the population in need of food aid.
Farmers in Zimbabwe have started harvesting 2021’s crop, which is expected to come in at 2.7 million tonnes after higher than normal rainfall.
That is three times 2020’s output and more than annual consumption.
“The Agricultural Marketing Authority will no longer be issuing out import permits for maize and maize meal,” the authority’s Chief Executive Clever Isaya said in a statement.
Millers would be required to purchase maize from the state grain agency, which has a monopoly on buying and selling maize from farmers.
The national treasury has said agriculture will anchor Zimbabwe’s economic recovery this year after sharply contracting in the last two years, while annual inflation is set to ease to double digits by the end of the year from 194.07% in April.