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The Zimbawean government is reportedly looking to export grain following a bumper harvest that saw most farmers surpassing the targeted yield per hectare under the country's command agriculture programme.
According to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, several farmers surpassed the government benchmark target of five tons per hectare.
Most farmers in Mashonaland Central province, for example, harvested at least 9–11 tons of grain per hectare.
The deputy chief secretary to the president and cabinet Justin Mupamhanga said the main aim for the command agriculture programme was "to ensure self-food sustenance after which exports would follow to help the country earn the much needed foreign currency".
"The primary thing is to ensure that our country has sufficient food. When we have reached the levels that we are satisfied that we can feed ourselves sustainably and have any extra, we can export that extra because exports are the foreign currency earners," Mupamhanga was quoted saying.
A Herald newspaper report said that Zimbabwe's successful command agriculture programme was being admired by other regional countries.
Under the programme, President Robert Mugabe's government provided inputs, which the farmers were expected to repay after harvesting.
Reports indicated last week that the southern African country had already banned grain imports from regional countries, including South Africa.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Davis Marapira was quoted as saying that the move was "to protect local farmers after producing enough to meet local demand".
"GMB [Grain Marketing Board] will buy maize from local farmers from the funds they have and more money will be available to purchase locally produced maize," Marapira said.