Harare – Zimbabwe has imported maize worth $82 million in the first five months of 2017, despite boasting a bumper harvest, NewsDay reports.
The report said that the latest trade data from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) showed that the country imported maize worth $82 million. This was, however, down from the comparative period in 2016 which was $97 million.
Zimbabwe also imported durum wheat and rice worth $46 million and $41 million respectively within the same period under review, the report said.
The report added: "Overall imports in the first five months of the year stood at $2.1 billion while exports amounted to $1.1 billion, giving a trade deficit of $1.01 billion."
This came just a few weeks after the government indicated that it had banned the import of grain following a bumper harvest.
Deputy Minister of agriculture Davis Marapira said that the country had banned grain imports "to protect local farmers after producing enough to meet local demand".
"GMB will buy maize from local farmers from the funds they have and more money will be available to purchase locally produced maize," Marapira was quoted as saying at the time.
He added: "Government stopped issuing grain import permits about four months ago and no maize imports are allowed at our borders."