The government has opened the country’s borders with immediate effect to allow the private sector to import maize duty-free.

Finance and Investment Promotion Minister Mthuli Ncube disclosed the development.

‘’We are opening up borders with immediate effect and allowing the private sector to import maize with no duty as well.

“The same thing applies to the household imports of maize meal which we opened a few months ago.

“That continues to ensure supply so private players should engage in the importation of grain. We want to support our citizens,’’ he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said private firms and companies with their own resources could import as much as they wished.

Private companies can now import maize without paying duty as a precautionary measure as Zimbabwe is faced with possible lower rainfall this season as a result of an El Nino.

The El Nino is likely to result in a mixed start to the 2023/24 rainy season in Zimbabwe.

However, there is uncertainty given the relatively low predictability of rainfall from October to December in Southern Africa based on the phenomenon.

Precipitation from December to March, during the height of the rainy season, is likely to be below average, negatively impacting the 2023/24 agricultural season, including agricultural labor opportunities.

In most semi-arid areas, water and pasture conditions for livestock are likely to be critically affected due to drier-than-normal conditions following erratic rainfall during the 2022/23 rainy season.

Apparently, as of now the government is on record saying the country is good secure.

Zimbabwe is said to be ready to resume grain exports this year with initial exports of 40 000 tonnes of grain to East Africa from the substantial surpluses grown by the farmers the government announced recently citing good agriculture policies.

Wheat exports are also being considered after Zimbabwe attained self-sufficiency for the first time last year and should be reaping a significant surplus over the next few months.

Zimbabwe used to be a reliable source of export maize

In fact it was the bread basket of the Southern African Development Community region, however in more recent years, this has no longer been the case.

Some wheat at least had to be imported each year until last year’s harvest was delivered, ending imports.