THE Government has lifted maize import ban to allow those with free funds to import and ensure regular supply for the milling industry and stock-feed manufactures.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, on Tuesday while briefing journalists on the first post-Cabinet briefing for 2022.
“The milling industry and stock feed manufacturers are allocated 45 000 tonnes and 30 000 tonnes of maize monthly, respectively. The milling industry and stock feed manufacturers are encouraged to enter into contract farming for uninterrupted supply of their grain requirements. In light of increased demand for maize, Cabinet resolved to lift the maize import ban to facilitate imports by private players with free funds,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Minister Dr Anxious Masuka, delivered an update on the 2021/2022 summer production season, where he said a record total of 1 307 250 metric of grain had so far been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
She said 1,5 million hactares had been put under maize, 45 000ha under soyabeans, 243 254ha under sorghum while 147 607ha under pearl millet. At least 14 482ha and 166 902ha had been put under sunflower and cotton respectively.
“Meanwhile, a total of 110 102 hectares of tobacco have been planted, 18 510 hectares under irrigation and 91 592 under dryland. Given the late start to the tobacco planting season, the tobacco marketing season will start on 30 March, 2022. Some 122 604 tobacco growers have registered for the 2021/2022 season, compared to 145 625 growers who registered during the same period last season,” she said.
“Concerning cotton, Cabinet wishes to advise the public that the delayed payment of farmers and late onset of the rains affected the total area that was put to seed cotton. A total of 367 945 hectares was put under seed cotton compared to the 380 127 ha in the 2020/21 season. In a bid to increase shareholding in the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Government has engaged consultants.”
Turning to illegal mining activities, Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet warned those behind the scourge including influential members of society that the law will come hard on them.
“Government takes great exception to some influential and Government officials who are also involved in illegal mining activities. These should desist from such activities forthwith. Government would take stern action against all those involved,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet approved the proposed measures to improve the effective operation of Gold Service Centres as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
“The Gold Service Centres are meant to streamline and support the operations of artisanal gold miners through ensuring that they operate legally and in a safe environment. The Gold Centres provide machinery and transport to the miners, while the artisanal miners on the other hand, are expected to provide sufficient feed stock to the Centres. The artisanal miners are also expected to benefit through higher returns from the processing of the feed ore they supply to the Centres.
“The illegal artisanal mining activities are, however, causing a loss of human lives, land degradation, loss of potential revenue to the Government, and hence the need to safeguard the country’s finite resources through curtailing these actions,” she said.
It was resolved that for the Gold Service Centres to achieve the intended objectives, the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill be finalised and that all mining operations be formalized to enhance accountability.Herald. https://masvingomirror.com